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Political Parties 



Professor of Political Economy and 
Statistics, University of Basle 








Copyright, 1915, by 
Hearst's International Library Co. 

All rights reserved, including translation 

into foreign languages, including 

tke Scandinavian 

DEC II i9J5 




I. Democratic Aristocracy and Aristocratic Democracy . . 1 
II. The Ethical, Embellishment of Social Struggles ... 12 


Leadership in Democratic Organizations 

A. Technical and Administrative Causes of Leadership 

I. Introductory — The Need for Organization 21 

II. Mechanical and Technical Impossibility op Direct Govern- 
ment BY THE Masses 23 

III. The Modern Democratic Party as a Fighting Party, Domi- 

nated BY Militarist Ideas and Methods 41 

B. Psychological Causes of Leadership 

IV. The Establishment of a Customary Right to the Office op 

Delegate 45 

V. The Need for Leadership Felt by the Mass 49 

VI. The Political Gratitude of the Masses 60 

VII. The Cult of Veneration Among the Masses 63 

VIII. Accessory Qualities Requisite to Leadership .... 69 

IX. Accessory Peculiarities of the Masses 78 

C. Intellectual Factors 
X. Superiority of the Professional Leaders in Respect op 
Culture, and Their Indispensability; the Formal and 

Real Incompetence of the Mass 80 


Autocratic Tendencies of Leaders 

I. The Stability of Leadership 93 

II. The Financial Power of the Leaders and of the Party . 107 
' III. The Leaders and the Press 130 

IV. The Position of the Leaders in Relation to the Masses in 

Actual Practice 136 

V. The Struggle Between the Leaders and the Masses . . 156 
VI. The Struggle Among the Leaders Themselves .... 164 
VII. Bureaucracy. Centralizing and Decentralizing Ten- 
dencies 185 




The Exercise of Power and Its Psychological Reaction 
UPON THE Leaders 


I. Psychological Metamorphosis op the Leaders .... 205 

II. Bonapartist Ideology 215 

III. Identification of the Party with the Leader ("Le Parti 

c'estMoi") 226 


Social Analysis of Leadership 

I. Introductory — The Class Struggle and Its Disintegrating 

Influence upon the Bourgeoisie 235 

II. Analysis of the Bourgeois Elements in the Socialist 

Leadership 249 

III. Social Changes Resulting from Organization .... 268 

IV. The Need for the Differentiation of the Working Class . 289 
V. Labour Leaders of Proletarian Origin 297 

VI. Intellectuals, and the Need for Them in the Working- 
class Parties 316 

Attempts to Restrict the Influence op the Leaders 

I. The Referendum 333 

II. The Postulate of Renunciation 339 

III. Syndicalism as Prophylactic 345 

IV. Anarchism as Prophylactic 357 

Synthesis: The Oligarchical Tendencies op Organization 

I. The Conservative Basis of Organization 365 

^ II. Democracy and the Iron Law of Oligarchy . Z- • • • 377 

III. Party-Life in War-Time 393 

__IV. Final Considerations 400 

Index 409 


Mant of the most important problems of social life, though 
their causes have from the first been inherent in human psy- 
chology, have originated during the last hundred and fifty years ; 
and even in so far as they have been handed down to us from 
an earlier epoch, they have of late come to press more urgently, 
have acquired a more precise formulation, and have gained fresh 
significance. Many of our leading minds have gladly devoted 
the best energies of their lives to attempts towards solving these 
problems. The so-called principle of nationality was discovered 
for the solution of the racial and linguistic problem which, un- 
solved, has continually threatened Europe with war and the 
majority of individual states with revolution. In the economic 
sphere, the social problem threatens the peace of the world even 
more seriously than do questions of nationality, and here "the 
labourer's right to the full produce of his labour" has become 
the rallying cry. Finally, the principle of self-government, the 
corner-stone of democracy, has come to be regarded as furnishing 
a solution of the problem of nationality, for the principle of 
nationality entails in practical working the acceptance of the idea 
of popular government. Now, experience has shown that not one 
of these solutions is as far-reaching in its effects as the respective 
discoverers imagined in the days of their first enthusiasm. The 
importance of the principle of nationality is undeniable, and 
most of the national questions of Western Europe can be and 
ought to be solved in accordance with this principle ; but matters 
are complicated by geographical and strategical considerations, 
such as the difficulty of determining natural frontiers and the 
frequent need for the establishment of strategic frontiers ; more- 
over, the principle of nationality cannot help us where nation- 
alities can hardly be said to exist or where they are intertangled 
in inextricable confusion. As far as the economic problem is 
concerned, we have numerous solutions offered by the different 
schools of socialist thought, but the formula of the right to the 
whole produce of labour is one which can be comprehended more 
readily in the synthetic than in the analytic field ; it is easy to 
formulate as a general principle and likely as such to command 


widespread sympathy, but it is exceedingly difficult to apply in 
actual practice. The present work aims at a critical discussion of 
the third question, the problem of democracy. It is the writer's 
opinion that democracy, at once as an intellectual theory and as 
a practical movement, has to-day entered upon a critical phase 
from which it will be extremely difficult to discover an exit. 
Democracy has encountered obstacles, not merely imposed from 
without, but spontaneously surgent from within. Only to a cer- 
tain degree, perhaps, can these obstacles be surpassed or removed. 

The present study makes no attempt to offer a ' ' new system. ' ' 
It is not the principal aim of science to create systems, but 
rather to promote understanding. It is not the purpose of 
sociological science to discover, or rediscover, solutions, since 
numerous problems of the individual life and the life of social 
groups are not capable of "solution" at all, but must ever remain 
"open." The sociologist should aim rather at the dispas- 
sionate exposition of tendencies and counter-operating forces, of 
reasons and opposing reasons, at the display, in a word, of the 
warp and the woof of social life. Precise diagnosis is the logical 
and indispensable preliminary to any possible prognosis. 
y The unravelment and the detailed formulation of the complex 
of tendencies which oppose the realization of democracy are mat- 
ters of exceeding difficulty. A preliminary analysis of these ten- 
dencies may, however, be attempted. They will be found to be 
classifiable as tendencies dependent (1) upon the nature of the 
human individual; (2) upon the nature of the political struggle; 
and (3) upon the nature of organization. Democracy leads to 
oligarchy, and necessarily contains an oligarchical nucleus. In 
making this assertion it is far from the author's intention to 
pass a moral judgment upon any political party or any system 
of government, to level an accusation of hypocrisy. The law that 
it is an essential characteristic of all human aggregates to con- 
stitute cliques and sub-classes is, like every other sociological law, 
beyond good and evil. 

The study and analysis of political parties constitutes a new 
branch of science. It occupies an intermediate field between 
the social, the philosophico-psychological, and the historical dis- 
ciplines, and may be termed a branch of applied sociology. In 
view of the present development of political parties, the historical 
aspect of this new branch of science has received considerable 
attention. "Works have been written upon the history of almost 
every political party in the Western world. But when we come 


to consider the analysis of the nature of party, we find that the 
field has hardly been touched. To fill this gap in sociological 
science is the aim of the present work. 

The task has been by no means easy. So great was the extent 
of the material which had to be discussed that the difficulties of 
concise presentation might well seem almost insuperable. The 
author has had to renounce the attempt to deal with the problem 
in all its extension and all its complexity, and has confined 
himself to the consideration of salient features. In the execution 
of this design he has received the unwearied and invaluable help 
of his wife, Gisela Michels. 

This English translation is from the Italian edition, in the 
preparation of which I had at my disposal the reviews of the 
earlier German version. Opportunities for further emendation 
of the present volume have also been afforded by the criticisms 
of the recently published French and Japanese translations. But 
the only event of outstanding importance in the political world 
since my Political Parties was first drafted has been the out- 
break of the war which still rages. The author's general con- 
clusions as to the inevitability of oligarchy in party life, and 
as to the difficulties which the growth of this oligarchy imposes 
upon the realization of democracy, have been strikingly confirmed 
in the political life of all the leading belligerent nations imme- 
diately before the outbreak of the war and during the progress 
of the struggle. The penultimate chapter of the present volume, 
specially written for the English edition, deals with Party Life in 
War-time. It will be obvious that the writer has been com- 
pelled, in this new chapter, to confine himself to the discussion 
of broad outlines, for we are stiU too near to the events under 
consideration for accurate judgment to be possible. Moreover, 
the flames of war, while throwing their sinister illumination upon 
the military and economic organization of the states concerned, 
leave political parties in the shadow. For the time being parties 
are eclipsed by nations. It need hardly be said, however, that as 
soon as the war is over party life wiU be resumed, and that the 
war will be found to have effected a reinforcement of the tend- 
encies characteristic of party. 

Basle, 1915. 




The most restricted form of oligarchy, absolute monarchy, is 
founded upon the will of a single individual. Sic volo sic juheo. 
Tel est mon hon plaisir. One commands, all others obey. The 
will of one single person can countervail the will of the nation, 
and even to-day we have a relic of this in the constitutional 
monarch's right of veto. The legal justification of this regime 
derives its motives from transcendental metaphysics. The logical 
basis of every monarchy resides in an appeal to God. God is 
brought down from heaven to serve as a buttress to the monar- 
chical stronghold, furnishing it with its foundation of con- 
stitutional law — the grace of God. Hence, inasmuch as it rests 
upon a supra-terrestrial element, the monarchical system, con- 
sidered from the outlook of constitutional law, is eternal and 
immutable, and cannot be affected by human laws or by the 
human will. It follows that the legal, juridical, legi^inate aboli- 
tion of the monarchy is impossible, a fable of a foolish political 
dreamer. Lawfully, the monarchy can be abolished by God alone 
— and God's will is inscrutable. 

At the antipodes of the monarchical principle, in theory, 
stands democracy, denying the right of one over others. In db- 
stracto, it makes all citizens equal before the law. It gives to 
each one of them the possibility of ascending to the top of the 
social scale, and thus facilitates the way for the rights of the 
community, annulling before the law all privileges of birth, and 
desiring that in human society the struggle for preeminence 
should be decided solely in accordance with individual capacity. 
Whereas the principle of monarchy stakes everything upon the 
character of a single individual, whence it results that the best 
possible monarchical government offers to the people as a whole 
no guarantee for permanently benevolent and technically efficient 
rule,^ democracy is, on principle, responsible to the community 

^At the end of the eighteenth century this was far more clearly and 




at large for the prevailing conditions of rule, of which it is the 

sole arbiter. 

We know to-day that in the life of the nations the two theo- 
retical principles of the ordering of the state are so elastic that 
they often come into reciprocal contact, ' * car la democratic pent 
embrasser tout le peuple, ou se resserrer jusqu'a la moitie; 
I'aristocratie, a son tour, pent de la moitie du peuple se resserrer 
jusqu'au plus petit nombre indeterminement. " ^ Thus the two 
forms of government do not exhibit an absolute antithesis, but 
meet at that point where the participants in power number fifty 
per cent. 

Our age has destroyed once for all the ancient and rigid forms 
of aristocracy, has destroyed them, at least, in certain important 
regions of political constitutional life. Even conservatism as- 
sumes at times a democratic form. Before the assaults of the 
democratic masses it has long since abandoned its primitive 
aspect, and loves to change its disguise. To-day we fijid it 
absolutist, to-morrow constitutional, the next day parliamentary. 
Where its power is still comparatively unrestricted, as in Ger- 
many, it appeals exclusively to the grace of God. But when, as 
in Italy, it feels insecure, it adds to the appeal to the deity an 
appeal to the popular will. In its outward forms it is capable 
of the most extensive modifications. In monarchical France the 
Franciae L Navarrae Bex becomes the Boy de France, and the 
Boy de France becomes the Boi des Frangais. 

The life of political parties, whether these are concerned chiefly 
with national or with local politics, must, in theory, necessarily 

expressly recognized than it is to-day, when the constitutional monarchy 
has destroyed the essence of every political principle of government: — 

"Servile dread, dependent upon the dazzling splendour of an inaccessible 
throne, upon myriads of satellites, upon innumerable armies, and upon 
the ever uplifted sword of vengeance, dependent in a word upon irresistible 
power, is the only thing that holds these monarchies together and secures 
the safety of the despots and their satraps. At times, indeed, fate sends 
a liberator to the unfortunate, a Cyrus who breaks the old fetters, and who 
rules a reconstituted kingdom with wisdom and a truly paternal spirit: but 
this rarely happens, and the good thus effected is for the most part per- 
sonal and transient; for the prime source of the evil, the political struc- 
ture, remains, and a succession of stupid or vicious monarchs will speedily 
destroy all that has been built up by the one benevolent sovereign" (C. M. 
Wieland, Eine Lustreise ins Elysium, Complete Works, Shrambl, Vienna, 
1803, vol. i, p. 209). 

* J, J. Rousseau, Le Contrat social, Bibliotheque Nationale, 6th ed., Paris, 
1871, p. 91. 


exhibit an even stronger tendency towards democracy than that " 
which is manifested by the state. The political party is founded 
in most eases on the principle of the majority, and is founded 
always on the principle of the mass. The result of this is that 
the parties of the aristocracy have irrevocably lost the aristo- 
cratic purity of their principles. While remaining essentially 
anti-democratic in nature, they find themselves compelled, at any 
rate in certain periods of political life, to make profession of the 
democratic faith, or at least to assume the democratic mask. 
Whereas the democratic principle, from its very nature, by 
reason of the mutability of the popular will and of the fluc- 
tuating character of the majority, tends in theory to transform 
the Travra pel of Heraclitus into the reality of national and 
popular life, the conservative principle erects its edifice upon 
certain bases or norms which are immutable in their nature, 
determined by the test of experience to be the best or at any rate 
the least bad, and consequently claimed as valid sub specie ceter- 
nitatis. Nevertheless, the conservative principle must not be 
understood in the sense of an unconditional maintenance of the 
status quo. If that principle consisted merely in the recognition 
of what already exists, above all in the matter of the legal forms 
prevailing in a given country or period, conservatism would lead 
to its own destruction.^ In periods and among nations where the 
old conservative elements have been expelled from direct par- 
ticipation in power, and have been replaced by innovators fight- 
ing under the banner of democracy, the conservative party as- 
sumes an aspect hostile to the existing order of the state, and 
sometimes even a revolutionary character.'* Thus, however, is 

' Concerning the nature of conservatism, consult the interesting study of 
Oskar Stillich, Die Politischen Parteien in Deutschland,, vol. i, Die Konser- 
vativen, Klinkhardt, Leipzig, 1909, pp. 18 et seq. 

*0r counter revolutionary? A definite historical signification is often 
associated with the word revolution, and the prototype of revolution in this 
sense is the great French Kevolution. Thus the expression revolutionary 
ia frequently applied simply to the struggle for liberty conducted by in- 
ferior classes of the population against superior, if this struggle assumes 
a violent form, whereas logically revolution implies nothing but a funda- 
mental transformation, and the use of the term cannot be restricted to de- 
scribe the acts of any particular class, nor should it be associated with 
any definite external form of violence. Consequently every class is revo- 
lutionary which, whether from above or from below, whether by force of 
arms, by legal means, or by economic methods, endeavours to bring about 
a radical change in the existing state of affairs. From this outlook, the 
concepts revolutionary and reactionary (reactionary as contrasted with 



effected a metamorpliosis of the conservative party, which, from 
a clique cherishing an aristocratic exclusivism at once by instinct 
and by conviction, now becomes a popular party. The recognition 
that only the masses can help to reintroduce the ancient aristoc- 
racy in its pristine purity, and to make an end of the democratic 
regime, transforms the very advocates of the conservative view 
into democrats. They recognize unreservedly the sufferings of 
the common people; they endeavour, as did very recently the 
royalists in the French Eepublic, to ally themselves with the 
revolutionary proletariat, promising to defend this against the 
exploitation of democratic capitalism and to support and even to 
extend labour organizations — all this in the hope of destroying 
the Eepublic and restoring the Monarchy, the ultimate fruit of 
the aristocratic principle.^ Le Boy et les camelots du Boy — the 
king and the king's poor — are to destroy the oligarchy of the 
bloated plutocrats. Democracy must be eliminated by the demo- 
cratic way of the popular will. The democratic method is the 
sole one practicable by which an old aristocracy can attain to a 
renewed dominion. Moreover, the conservatives do not usually 
wait until they have been actually driven from power before 

conservative) , revolution and counter-revolution, fuse into a single whole. 
It is moreover utterly unscientific to associate with these terms moral ideas 
whose theoretical bearing is purely evolutionary. For example, Eaumer, 
writing from Paris in 1830, expressed the matter very well as follows: 
"All these men [the liberals] regard as revolutionary the abolition of 
anciently established institutions and evils, whereas by counter-revolution 
they understand the restoration of these or of other abuses. Their ad- 
versaries, on the other hand, understand by revolution the aggregate of aU 
the follies and crimes that have ever been committed, whereas by counter- 
revolution they mean the re-establishment of order, of authority, of re- 
ligion, and so on" (Friedrich von Eaumer, Brief e aus Paris und FranJcreich 
im Jahre 1830, F. A. Brockhaus, Leipzig, 1831, Part II, p. 26).— Cf. also 
Wilhelm Eoscher, FolitiTc, Geschichtliche Naturlehre der Monarchic, Aris- 
tolcratie und DemoTcratie, Cotta, Stuttgart-Berlin, 1908, 3rd ed., p. 14. — Yet 
we have to remember that in political matters such judgments of value may 
be effective means of struggle towards political and sometimes also towards 
moral ends; but they are apt to lead us astray if we use them to aid us in 
defining historical tendencies or conceptions. 

® Cf . the royalist propagandist work by Georges Valois, a trade unionist, 
La Monarchic et la Classe ouvriere, Nouvelle Librairie Nationale, Paris, 
1909, pp. 45 et seq. Valois pays ardent court to French syndicalism as the 
one great movement which now has the support of the masses. His conser- 
vatism is quite undisturbed by the contemplation of the idea that his king 
can be established on the throne only by means of a revolution, becomiag 
king no longer by the grace of God, but by the grace of the revolutionary 


appealing to the masses. In countries where a democratic regime 
prevails, as in England, they spontaneously turn to the working 
class wherever this forms the most conspicuous constituent of 
the masses.*^ In other countries, also, where parliamentary gov- 
ernment is unknown, but where there exists universal and equal 
suffrage, the parties of the aristocracy owe their political exist- 
ence to the charity of the masses to whom in theory they deny 
political rights and political capacity.'^ The very instinct of self- 
preservation forces the old groups of rulers to descend, during 
the elections, from their lofty seats, and to avail themselves of 
the same democratic and demagogic methods as are employed 
by the youngest, the widest, and the most uncultured of our 
social classes, the proletariat. 

The aristocracy to-day maintains itself in power by other 
means than parliamentary ; at any rate in most of the monarchies 

°Iii the violent electoral struggles ia England in January 1910, it may 
be said that both parties, liberals and conservatives alike, in view of the 
manner in which they fought one another, were essentially working for 
socialist ideas and for the victory of the proletariat. The liberals did this 
by unfurling the flag of democracy, by working for the suppression of the 
House of Lords, and by advocating an extensive programme of far-reaching 
social reforms; while the conservatives displayed before the eyes of the 
workers all the misery of their existence in capitalist society; both parties 
did this by promising more than they could perform, and by recognizing in 
the whole conduct of their political agitation that the working class has 
become the decisive force in politics. The comments made at the time in 
the socialist papers of Germany were extremely apt: "The English con- 
servatives do not preach resignation to the workers, but discontent. Whereas 
the Prussian conservatives, for example, are in the habit of telling the 
working classes that nowhere in the world are they so well off as in Ger- 
many, the English conservatives assure their constituents that nowhere 
in the world are the workers worse off than in England." Naturally the 
aim of these assurances was to persuade the electorate to accept the aboli- 
tion of the detested system of free trade, and to establish a protectionist 
system which would redound to their advantage. This idea has long been 
cherished by the English conservatives, but they cannot put it into practice 
except with the aid of the revolutionary labouring class. 

' The merit of having recognized this truth with precision and of having 
applied it to the practice of the conservative party belongs especially to the 
great political leaders of ultra-conservative elements in Germany, Ham- 
merstein and Stocker. Hammerstein, from 1881 to 1895 editor of the 
* ' Kreuzzeitung, " was the first who clearly perceived the necessity, in order 
to save the life of his party, of acquiring the ''confidence of the masses" 
(cf. Hans Leuss, Wilhelm Freiherr von Hammerstein, Walther, Berlin, 
1905, p. 109). At the party congress held in Berlin in 1892, the proposal 
by a delegate from Chemnitz that the conservatives should become more 
"demagogic" received universal approval. 


it does not need a parliamentary majority in order to be able to 
hold the reins by which is guided the political life of the state. 
But it does need, were it merely for decorative purposes and in 
order to influence public opinion in its favour, a respectable 
measure of parliamentary representation. It does not obtain this 
representation by divulging its true principles, or by making 
appeal to those who are truly of like mind with itself. A party 
of the landed gentry which should appeal only to the members 
of its own class and to those of identical economic interests, 
would not win a single seat, would not send a single representa- 
tive to parliament. A conservative candidate who should present 
himself to his electors by declaring to them that he did not 
regard them as capable of playing an active part in influencing 
the destinies of the country, and should tell them that for this 
reason they ought to be deprived of the suffrage, would be a man 
of incomparable sincerity, but politically insane. If he is to find 
his way into parliament he can do so by one method only. With 
democratic mien he must descend into the electoral arena, must 
hail the farmers and agricultural labourers as professional col- 
leagues, and must seek to convince them that their economic 
and social interests are identical with his own. Thus the aristo- 
crat is constrained to secure his election in virtue of a principle 
which he does not himself accept, and which in his soul he 
abhors. His whole being demands authority, the maintenance 
of a restricted suffrage, the suppression of universal suffrage 
wherever it exists, since it touches his traditional privileges. 
Nevertheless, since he recognizes that in the democratic epoch 
by which he has been overwhelmed he stands alone with this 
political principle, and that by its open advocacy he could never 
hope to maintain a political party, he dissembles his true 
thoughts, and howls with the democratic wolves in order to 
secure the coveted majority,^ 

*Naumann writes very aptly: "We can readily understand that con- 
servatives have no love for universal suffrage. It has an injurious influ- 
ence upon their character, for no one can very well stand up before an 
electoral meeting and frankly enunciate the principle. Authority, not Ma- 
jority. ... It is only in certain privileged bodies, such as the Prussian 
Upper House, or the First Chamber of Saxony, that the conservative can 
show himself in his true colours. The modern conservative is a living com- 
promise, an authoritarian in democratic gloves. . . . An aristocracy en- 
gaged in political agitation! If in this alone, we see the influence of the 
democratic tendency" (Friedrich Naumann, DemoJcratie und Kaisertum, 
ein Handbuch fiir innere PolitiJc, Buchverlag der "Hilfe, " Berlin-Schone- 


The influence of popular suffrage upon the outward behaviour 
of conservative candidates is so extensive that when two can- 
didates of the same political views present themselves in a single 
constituencv, each of them is forced to attempt to distinguish 
himself from his rival by a movement to the left, that is to 
say, by laying great stress upon his reputedly democratic prin- 

Such occurrences serve to confirm the experience that the con- 
servatives also endeavour to regulate their actions in conformity 
with the fundamental principle of modern politics, a principle 
destined to replace the religious dictum that many are called 
but few are chosen, and to replace also the psychological theory 
that ideals are accessible solely to a minority of choice spirits: 
this principle may be summed up in the terms of Curtius, who 
said that the conservative cannot gain his ends with the aid of 
a small and select body of troops, but must control the masses 
and rule through the masses.^" The conservative spirit of the 
old master-caste, however deeply rooted it may be, is forced to 
assume, at least during times of election, a specious democratic 

Nor does the theory of liberalism primarily base its aspirations 
upon the masses. It appeals for support to certain definite 
classes, which in other fields of activity have already ripened for 
mastery, but which do not yet possess political privileges — ap- 
peals, that is to say, to the cultured and possessing classes. For 
the liberals also, the masses pure and simple are no more than a 
necessary evil, whose only use is to help others to the attainment 
of ends to which they themselves are strangers. The first great 
liberal writer of Germany, Rotteck, reproaches the Queen of 
France for having, during the Revolution, forced the bourgeoisie 
to appeal to the common people for aid. He distinguishes be- 

berg, 1904, p, 92). Cf. also Ludwig Gumplowicz (SozialphilosopMe im 
TJmriss, Wagner, Innsbruck, 1910, p. 113), who regards the tendencies and 
the natural needs of landed property as one of the most essential props 
of conservatism. 

* This applies equally to France. Cf . Aime Berthod (Sous-chef de cabinet 
au Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres), in a discussion upon Electoral Ee- 
form which took place at the society "Union pour la verite," and was 
published in the society's organ "Libres Entretiens," 6th series, iv, La 
Representation proportionnelle et la Constitution des Fartis poUtiques, 
Paris, January 23, 1910, p. 212. 

^"Friedrich Curtius, Ueber Gerechtigheit und PolitiJc, "Deutsche Eund- 
Bchau," y yi i i , 1897, fasc. 4, p. 46. 


tween two kinds of democracy, the rule of representatives and 
the rule of the masses.^^ During the revolution of June 1830, 
Raumer, who was in Paris, broke into vigorous lamentation be- 
cause the masses possessed power, and said that it would be 
extremely difficult * ' to deprive them of this power without giving 
them offence and without provoking them to a fresh revolt 
against their new chiefs"; ^^ at the same time, in words express- 
ing the dithyrambic spirit of romanticism, he refers to the con- 
ditions that obtain in his Prussian fatherland, where king and 
people * ' truly live in a higher and purer atmosphere, ' ' and where 
the contented bourgeoisie is not endeavouring to secure additional 
rights. From the history of the origin of the North German 
Reichstag we learn that another eminent liberal leader and 
advocate of liberal views, the historian Heinrich von Sybel, de- 
clared himself opposed to universal, equal, and direct suffrage, 
on the ground (which can be understood solely with reference 
to the explanations given above regarding the peculiar concep- 
tions the liberals have of the masses) that such a right must 
signify "the beginning of the end for every kind of parlia- 
mentarism"; such a right, he said, was eminently a right of 
dominion; and he was impelled to utter an urgent warning to 
the German monarchy not to introduce these dangerous elements 
of democratic dictatorship into the new federal state.^^ The. 
inward dislike of liberalism for the masses is also apparent in 
the attitude of the liberal leaders to the principles and institu- 
tions of aristocracy. Since the inauguration of universal suf-i 
frage and the consequent prospect that there will in the near, 
future be a majority of socialist tendencies among the electorate 
or in the Lower House, many liberals, so Roscher affirms, have 

""It was this opposition [of the ultra-monarchical friends of Louis 
XVI to the well-disposed liberals] which set itself against the idea of 
bourgeois and political freedom that was spreading, not in France alone, 
but in aU the other civilized countries of Europe, that forced upon the 
Eevolution (which otherwise might have been purely beneficial) its evil 
and destructive character. It was this which led the representatives of 
the people to endeavour to avoid the threatened ruin by calling the masses 
to their aid; it was this which led to the unchaining of the rough and 
lawless force of the mob, and thus threw open the box of Pandora" (Carl 
von Eotteck, Allgemeine GeschicJite vom Anfang der historischen Kenntniss 
his auf unsere Zeiten, Herdersche Buchhandlung, Freiburg, 1826, vol. ix, p. 

*^Friedrich von Eaumer, Brief e aus Paris, etc. Op. cit., vol. i, p. 176. 

*'Cf. Otto von Diest-Daber, Geldmacht und Sosidlismus, Puttkammer u. 
Miihlbrecht, Berlin, 1875, p. 13. 


come to take a different view of the powers of the Crown and 
of the Upper House/* as means by which it is possible to prevent 
decisions of the Lower House being immediately realized in legis- 
lative measures. The same author contends that an extension 
of the suffrage is undesirable "in the absence of a profound 
statistical inquiry, ' ' that is to say, in the absence of a laborious 
analysis of the numerical relationships that obtain among the 
various classes of the population. Recently, even in that liberal 
group which in Germany stands nearest to the socialists, the 
group of "national socialists," there has been evidence of a tend- 
ency to consider that it is by no means a bad thing "for 
obstacles to be imposed upon the influence in political affairs of 
the mutable and incalculable popular will which finds expression 
in the Reichstag, for the national socialists consider it desirable 
that there should exist also aristocratic elements, independent of 
the popular will, ever vigilant, armed with the right of veto, to 
constitute a permanent moderating element. ' ' ^^ 

For an entire century, from the days of Rotteck to those of 
Naumann, German writers have laboured in the sweat of their 

" Eoscher, op. cit., p. 321. 

^Martin Eade, in a leading article (Das Allgemeine WahlrecM ein Kd- 
nigliches Becht, "Hessische Landeszeitung, " xxiii, No. 25, 1907) favouring 
the election of the national-socialist Helmuth von Gerlaeh at Marburg, 
■wrote as follows in order to still the alarms of the adversaries of universal 
suffrage: "The case would be very different if our Eeichstag were the 
actual director of the government, if it alone could decide the internal and 
external destinies of our people! But it is merely one among the elements 
of our constitution! Beside it, or rather above it, stands the Bundesrat 
(Federal Council), and not the most trifling proposition can become law 
unless with the assent of the Imperial Chancellor, the Emperor, and the 
Princes. Certainly the Federal Council will not permanently oppose a 
strong and reasonable expression of the popular wiU which is manifested 
in a constitutional manner in the Eeichstag; but such resolutions of the 
Eeichstag as it regards as injudicious it will reject, and often has rejected. 
By this means, precautions are taken to limit the power of universal suf- 
frage, just as nature takes care that trees do not grow to touch the skies. It 
is well for our legislation that we have these two Chambers, and not the 
Eeichstag alone." Such considerations run like a red thread through the 
entire history of bourgeois liberalism, of which they are, ia fact, a con- 
genital defect. Already in the work of Guizot, which in the literature of 
the young bourgeoisie occupies the place taken in socialist literature by the 
Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx, we read this praise of the French. 
House of Peers, that its significance is to be "un privilege place la ou il 
pent servir" (F. Guizot, Du Gouvernement de la France depuis la Bestaura- 
tion, et du Ministere actuel, Librairie Frangaise de Ladvocat, Paris, 1820, 
p. 14). 



brow to effect a theoretical conciliation between democracy and 
military monarchy, and to unite these natural opposites in a 
higher unity. Hand in hand with their honourable endeavours 
on behalf of this loftier aim have proceeded their attempts to 
defeudalize the monarchy to the utmost, with the sole purpose 
of substituting for the aristocratic guardians of the throne guar- 
dians speaking with professional authority. The task they set 
themselves was to lay the theoretical foundations, if not of the 
so-called social monarchy, at least of the popular monarchy. It 
is evident that such an objective involves a political tendency 
which has nothing in common with science, but which is not in 
necessary opposition to or in contradiction with science (it is the 
method which must decide this), being a political tendency which 
is, qua political, outside the domain of science. It cannot be 
made a reason for blaming German men of science that there 
exists in Germany a tendency towards the construction of some- 
thing resembling the July Monarchy, for this tendency rests 
within the orbit of polities. But it is plainly a matter for his- 
torical censure when we find an attempt to identify the monar- 
chical principle which has for some decades been dominant in 
Prussianized Germany with the cherished idea of the popular (or 
social) monarchy. In committing such an error, the majority of 
German liberal theorists and historians mistake dreams for real- 
ity. In this confusion rests the organic defect of all German 
liberalism, which since 1866 has continually endeavoured to dis- 
guise its change of front (that is to say, its partisan struggle 
against socialism and its simultaneous and voluntary renuncia- 
tion of all attempts to complete the political emancipation of 
the German bourgeoisie), by the fallacious assertion that with 
the unification of Germany and the establishment of the empire 
of the HohenzoUerns all or almost all the aspirations of its demo- 
cratic youth have been realized. The fundamental principle of 
modern monarchy (hereditary monarchy) is absolutely irrecon- 
cilable with the principles of democracy, even when these are 
understood in the most elastic sense. Csesarism is still democracy, 
or may at least still claim the name, when it is based upon the 
popular will; but automatic monarchy, never. 

We may sum up the argument by saying that in modern party 
life aristocracy gladly presents itself in democratic guise, whilst 
the substance of democracy is permeated with aristocratic ele- 
ments. On the one side we have aristocracy in a democratic 
form, and on the other democracy with an aristocratic content. 


The democratic external form which characterizes the life of I 
political parties may readily veil from superficial observers the,/ 
tendency towards aristocracy, or rather towards oligarchy, which ' 
is inherent in all party organization. If we wish to obtain light 
upon this tendency, the best field of observation is offered by the 
intimate structure of the democratic parties, and, among these, 
of the socialist and revolutionary labour party. In the conserva- 
tive parties, except during elections, the tendency to oligarchy 
manifests itself with that spontaneous vigour and clearness which 
corresponds with the essentially oligarchical character of these 
parties. But the parties which are subversive in their aims ex- 
hibit the like phenomena no less markedly. The study of the 
oligarchical manifestations in party life is most valuable and 
most decisive in its results when undertaken in relation to the 
revolutionary parties, for the reason that these parties, in respect 
of origin and of programme, represent the negation of any such 
tendency, and have actually come into existence out of opposition 
thereto. Thus the appearance of oligarchical phenomena in the 
very bosom of the revolutionary parties is a conclusive proof of 
the existence of immanent oligarchical tendencies in every kind 
of human organization which strives for the attainment of 
definite ends. 

In theory, the principle of social and democratic parties is 
the struggle against oligarchy in all its forms. The question 
therefore arises how we are to explain the development in such 
parties of the very tendencies against which they have declared 
war. To furnish an unprejudiced analytical answer to this ques- 
tion constitutes an important part of the task the author has 

In the society of to-day, the state of dependence that results 
from the existing economic and social conditions renders an ideal 
democracy impossible. This must be admitted without reserve. 
But the further question ensues, whether, and if so how far, 
within the contemporary social order, among the elements which 
are endeavouring to overthrow that order and to replace it by 
a new one, there may exist in the germ energies tending to ap- 
proximate towards ideal democracy, to find outlet in that direc- 
tion, or at least to work towards it as a necessary issue. 



No one seriously engaged in historical studies can liave failed 
to perceive that all classes which have ever attained to dominion 
have earnestly endeavoured to transmit to their descendants such 
political power as they have been able to acquire. The hereditary 
transmission of political power has always been the most effica- 
cious means of maintaining class rule. Thus there is displayed 
in this field the same historical process which in the domain of 
the sexual life has given rise to the bourgeois family-order and 
its accessories, the indissolubility of marriage, the severe penal- 
ties inflicted upon the adulterous wife, and the right of primo- 
geniture. In so far as we can draw sound conclusions from the 
scanty prehistoric data that are available, it seems that the bour- 
geois family owes its genesis to the innate tendency of man, as 
soon as he has attained a certain degree of economic well-being, 
to transmit his possessions by inheritance to the legitmate son 
whom he can with reasonable certainty regard as his own. The 
same tendency prevails in the field of politics, where it is kept 
active by all the peculiar and inherent instincts of mankind, and 
where it is vigorously nourished by an economic order based 
therefore, by a natural and psychological analogy, political power 
comes also to be considered as an object of private hereditary 
ownership. In the political field, as everywhere else, the paternal 
instinct to transmit this species of property to the son has been 
always strongly manifest throughout historic time. This has 
been one of the principal causes of the replacement of elective 
monarchy by hereditary monarchy. The desire to maintain a 
position acquired by the family in society has at all times been 
so intense that, as Gaetano Mosca has aptly noted, whenever 
certain members of the dominant class have not been able to 
have sons of their own (as, for example, was the case with the 
prelates of the Roman Church), there has arisen with spon- 
taneous and dynamic force the institution of nepotism, as an 



extreme manifestation of the impulse to self-maintenance iand to 
hereditary transmission.^ 

In a twofold manner aristocracy has introduced itself quite 
automatically in those states also from which it seemed to be 
excluded by constitutional principles, by historical considera- 
tions, or by reason of the peculiarities of national psychology — 
alike by way of a revived tradition and by way of the birth of 
new economic forces. The North Americans, democrats, living 
under a republican regime and knowing nothing of titles of 
nobility, by no means delivered themselves from aristocracy when 
they shook off the power of the English crown. This phenome- 
non is in part the simple effect of causes that have come into 
existence quite recently, such as capitalist concentration (with 
its associated heaping-up of the social power in the hands of 
the few and consequent formation of privileged minorities), and 
the progressive reconciliation of the old and rigid republican 
spirit with the ideas, the prejudices, and the ambitions of ancient 
Europe. The existence of an aristocracy of millionaires, railway 
kings, oil kings, cattle kings, etc., is now indisputable. But even 
at a time when the youthful democracy and the freedom of Amer- 
ica had only just been sealed with the blood of its citizens, it 
was difficult (so we learn from Alexis de Tocqueville) to find a 
single American who did not plume himself with an idle vanity 
upon belonging to one of the first families which had colonized 
American soil.^ So lively was ''aristocratic prejudice" among 
these primitive republicans! Even at the present day the old 
families which are Dutch by name and origin constitute in the 
State of New York a stratum whose aristocratic preeminence is 
uncontested, a class of patricians lacking the outward attributes 
of nobility. 

When, in the latter half of the seventeenth century, the French 
bourgeoisie was vigorously pressing upward, it knew no better 
how to adapt itself to its changed environment than by aping 
the usages, the mode of life, the tastes, and even the mentality 
of the feudal nobility. In 1670 Moliere wrote his splendid 
comedy, Le Bourgeois gentilhomme. The Abbe de Choisy, who 
belonged to the noblesse de rohe, and whose ancestors had filled 
the distinguished offices of Maitre des Requites and Conseiller 

^ Gaetano Mosca, II Principio aristocratico e il democratico nel passato e 
neV avvenire (inaugural address), Stamperia Paravia, Turin, 1903, p. 22. 

^Alexis de Tocqueville, Be la democratie en Amerique, Gosseline, Paris, 
1849, Part II, vol, ii, p. 19. 


d'Etat, relates that his mother had given him as a maxim of 
conduct that he should be careful to frequent none but aristo- 
cratic salons.^ With the fervour of the novice, the new arrivals 
assimilated the spirit and the principles of the class hitherto 
dominant, and the distinguished members of the bourgeoisie who 
had entered the service of the state, which was still predomi- 
nantly feudal, hastened to take new names. The Fouquets, the 
Le Telliers, the Colberts, the Phelippeaux, and the Desmarets, 
became the Belle-Isles^ the de Louvois, the de Seignelays, the de 
Maurepas, the de Maillebois, and the de Lavrillieres.* In modern 
Germany, under our very eyes, there has for the last forty years 
been proceeding an absorption of the young industrial bour- 
geoisie into the old aristocracy of birth, and the process has of 
late been enormously accelerated.^ The German bourgeoisie is 
becoming feudalized. Here the only result of the emancipation 
of the roturier has been to reinvigorate his old enemy the noble 
by the provision of new blood and new economic energy. The 
enriched bourgeois have no higher ambition than to fuse with 
the nobility, in order to derive from this fusion a kind of legiti- 
mate title for their connection with the dominant class^ a title 
which can then be represented, not as acquired, but as existing 
by hereditary right. Thus we see that the hereditary principle 
(even when purely fictitious) greatly accelerates the process of 
social "training," accelerates, that is to say, the adaptation of 
the new social forces to the old aristocratic environment. 

In the violent struggle between the new class of those who are 
rising and the old stratum of those who are undergoing a deca- 
dence partly apparent and partly real — a struggle at times 
waged with dramatic greatness, but often proceeding obscurely, 
so as hardly to attract attention — moral considerations are drawn 
into the dance, and pulled this way and that by the various con- 
tending parties, who use them in order to mask their true aims. 
In an era of democracy, ethics constitute a weapon which every- 
one can employ. In the old regime, the members of the ruling 
class and those who desired to become rulers continually spoke 

^Abbe de Choisy, Memoir es pour servir a, I'Eistoire de Louis XIV, Van 
De Water, Utrecht, 1727, p. 23. 

* Pierre Edouard Lemontey, Essai sw I'etahlissement monarcMque de 
Louis XIV, Appendix to Nouveaux memoires de Vangeau, republislied by 
the author, Deterville, Paris, 1818, p. 392. 

* Cf . the striking examples furnished by Werner Sombart, Die deutsche 
Volkswirtschaft im XIX JahrJiundert, Bondi, Berlin, 1903, pp. 545, et seq. 


of their own personal rights. Democracy adopts a more diplo- 
matic, a more prudent course. It has rejected such claims as 
unethical. To-day, all the factors of public life speak and 
struggle in the name of the people, of the community at large. 
The government and rebels against the government, kings and 
party-leaders, tyrants by the grace of God and usurpers, rabid 
idealists and calculating self-seekers, all are "the people," and 
all declare that in their actions they merely fulfil the will of the 

Thus, in the modern life of the classes and of the nations, 
moral considerations have become an accessory, a necessary fic- 
tion. Every government endeavours to support its power by a 
general ethical principle. The political forms in which the 
various social movements become crystallized also assume a phil- 
anthropic mask. There is not a single one among the young class- 
parties which fails, before starting on its march for the conquest 
of power, to declare solemnly to the world that its aim is to 
redeem, not so much itself as the whole of humanity, from the 
yoke of a tyrannical minority, and to substitute for the old and 
inequitable regime a new reign of justice. Democracies are 
always glib talkers. Their terminology is often comparable to a 
tissue of metaphors. The demagogue, that spontaneous fruit of 
democratic soil, overflows with sentimentality, and is profoundly 
moved by the sorrows of the people. "Les victimes soignent 
leurs mots, les bourreaux sont ivres de philosophic larmoyante," 
writes Alphonse Daudet in this connection.^ Every new social 
class, when it gives the signal for an attack upon the privileges 
of a class already in possession of economic and political power, 
inscribes upon its banners the motto : ' ' The Liberation of the 
entire Human Race ! ' ' "When the young French bourgeoisie was 
girding its loins for the great struggle against the nobles and the 
clergy, it began with the solemn Declaration des Droits de 
V Homme, and hurled itself into the fray with the war-cry 
Liberie, Egalite, Fraiernite! To-day we can ourselves hear the 
spokesmen of another great class-movement, that of the wage- 
earners, announce that they undertake the class-struggle from no 
egoistic motives, but on the contrary in order to exclude such 
.motives for ever from the social process. For the refrain of its 
Hymn of Progress modern socialism ever reiterates the proud 

'Leon A. Daudet, Alphonse Daudet, Bibliotheque Charpentier. E. 
Fasquelle, Paris, 1898, p. 142. 


words : * ' Creation of a humane and fraternal society in whieli 
class will be unknown!" 

The victorious bourgeoisie of the Droits de V Homme did, in- 
deed, realize the republic, but not democracy. The words Liberie, 
Egalite, Fraternite may be read to this day over the portals of 
all French prisons. The Commune was the first attempt, 
crowned by a transient success, at a proletarian-socialist govern- 
ment; and despite its communistic principles, and under the 
pressure of extreme financial stringency, the Commune respected 
the Bank of France as faithfully as could have done any syn- 
dicate of inexorable capitalists. There have been revolutions, but 
the world has never witnessed the establishment of logical de- 

Political parties, however much they may be founded upon 
narrow class interests and however evidently they may work 
against the interests of the majority, love to identify themselves 
with the universe, or at least to present themselves as co-operat- 
ing with all the citizens of the state, and to proclaim that they 
are fighting in the name of all and for the good of all.7 It is 
only the socialist orators who are sometimes found to proclaim 
that their party is specifically a class party. But they tone down 
this assertion by adding that in ultimate analysis the interests of 
their party coincide with those of the entire people. It is, indeed, 
true that in protesting that it enters the lists in the interests of 
the whole of humanity the socialist party, representing the most 
numerous* class of the population, is nearer to the truth than 
are the bourgeois parties when these make the same claim, for 
they by their very nature are parties of the minority.^ But the 

^ The adherents of pessimism in sociology, writing for the most part in- 
dependently of one another, have drawn express attention to the confu- 
sion, in part conscious and in part unconscious, characteristic of all revo- 
lutionary and reforming movements, between the interests or aims of class 
and of party and the interests or aims of the human race. Cf. more par- 
ticularly Gaetano Mosca, Elementi di Sciensa poUtica, Bocca, Turin, 1896, 
pp. 75 et seq. ; Ludwig Gumplowicz, op. cit., pp. 23, 70, 71, 94, 123; Vilfredo 
Pareto, Les Systemes Socialistes, Giard et Briere, Paris, 1892, vol. i, p. 
59; Ludwig Woltmann, Politische Anthropologie, Thiiringische Verlagsan- 
stalt, Leipzig, 1903, pp. 299 et seq. Moreover, this confusion is not peculiar 
to democracy. Aristocracy also claims to represent on principle, not the 
interests of a small social group, but those of the entire people without dis- 
tinction of class (as far as the German conservatives are concerned cf. 
Oskar Stillich, op. cit., p. 3). But it is here easier to recognize the true 
nature of the democratic mask. 

^An extremely elaborate and able description of the intimate relation- 


socialist claim, is also far from the truths seeing that the two 
terms humaniti/ and party are far from being identical in exten- 
sion, even if the party under consideration should embrace, or 
believe itself to embrace, the great majority of humanity. When 
for opportunist reasons the socialist party declares to the electors 
that socialism proposes to give to all, but to take nothing from 
any, it suffices to point out that the enormous differences of 
wealth which exist in society render it impossible to keep any such 
promise. The giving presupposes a taking away, and if the 
proletarians wish to bring about an equality of economic status 
between themselves on the one hand and the Rothschilds, Vander- 
bilts, and Eockefellers on the other, which could be done only by 
socializing the means of production and exchange to-day owned 
by these various millionaires, it is obvious that the wealth and 
power of these great bourgeois princes would be considerably 
diminished. To the same opportunist party tendency we must 
ascribe the formulation of the socialist theory which, in apparent 
accordance with the fundamental principle of the Marxist 
political economy, divides the population into owners of the 
means of production and non-owners dependent upon these, pro- 
ceeding to the contention that all the owners must be capitalist in 
sentiment while all the dependents must be socialists, that is to 
say, must desire the triumph of socialism. This view is utterly 
fallacious, for it regards as the unique or most certain criterion 
for determining the class to which an individual belongs the 
amount of his income, which is a purely external characteristic, 
and then proceeds (in a manner which is perhaps effective in 
political life, but which is eminently contestable on theoretical 
grounds) to enlarge the concept of the proletariat so that all 
employees, governmental or private, may be claimed for the 
party of labour. According to this theory the directors of 
Krupp or the Minister-Presidents of Russia, since as such they 
are non-owners and employees, are dependents upon the means of 
production, ought to espouse with enthusiasm the cause of social- 
ships between party and collectivity will be found in an essay by Karl 
Kautsky, Klasseninteresse, Sonderinteresse, Parteiinteresse, "Neue Zeit" 
xxi, vol. ii, Nos. 34 and 35. I may also refer those who care to study the 
relationship between the interests of humanity as a whole and the interests 
of the proletariat as a social class, to the consideration put forward in my 
own Das Proletariat in der Wissenschaft und die OelconomiscJi-Anthropolo- 
gische Synthese, published as preface to the German translation of Nice- 
foro's work Anthropologie der nichtbesitsenden Klassen, Studien und Un- 
tersuchungen, Maas und van Suchtelen, Leipzig- Amsterdam, 1909. 


ism — ought to do so, at least, in so far as they understand their 
true position in society, in so far as they have become what 
the socialists term * ' class-conscious. ' ' ^ 

The ideal impetuosity of youthful movements aiming at eman- 
cipation is depicted by anti-democratic writers as a pious illusion, 
as the pursuit of a will-o'-the-wisp, arising from the need to 
make the particular good assume the aspect of the general 
good.^° In the world of hard fact, every class-movement which 
professes to aim at the good of the entire community is stamped 
inevitably as self-contradictory. Humanity cannot dispense with 
''political classes," but from their very nature these classes are 
but fractions of society. 

^ The relationships between socialism and industrial bureaucracy were 
discussed by the present writer at considerable length in a paper read at 
the Italian Congress of the Sciences held at Florence in 1908, Sulla deca- 
densa della Classe media industriale antica e sul sorgere di una Classe media 
industriale moderna nei Paesi di economia spiccatamente capitalista. This 
paper was published in the ' ' Giornale degli Economisti, ' ' vol. xxxvii, Series 
2, 1909. 

" Cf . Gaetano Mosca, op. cit., p. 75. 






Democracy is inconceivable without organization. A few words 
will suffice to demonstrate this proposition.^ 

A class which unfurls in face of society the banner of certain 
definite claims, and which aspires to be the realization of a com- 
plex of ideal aims deriving from the economic functions which 
that class fulfils, needs an organization. Be the claims economic 
or be they political, organization appears the only means for the 
creation of a collective will. Organization, based as it is upon 
the principle of least effort, that is to say, upon the greatest 
possible economy of energy, is the weapon of the weak in their 
struggle with the strong.^ 

The chances of success in any struggle will depend upon the 
degree to which this struggle is carried out upon a basis of soli- 
darity between individuals whose interests are identical. In ob- 
jecting, therefore, to the theories of the individualist anarchists 
that nothing could please the employers better than the disper- 
sion and disaggregation of the forces of the workers, the social- 
ists, the most fanatical of all 'the partisans of the idea of or- 
ganization, enunciate an argument which harmonizes well with 
the results of scientific study of the nature of parties. 

We live in a time in which the idea of cooperation has 

^ Moreover, the literature of this subject is exhaustive. Here we will 
refer merely to the following: Victor Griffuelhes, L' Action syndicaliste, 
Eiviere, Paris, 1908, p. 8. Henriette Eoland-Holst, GeneralstreiJc und 80- 
cialdemoTcratie, Kaden u. Co., Dresden, 2nd ed., 1906, pp. 114 et seq. Attilio 
Cabiati, Le Basi teoriche dell' organissasione operaia, Office of the "Critica 
Sociale, ' ' Milan, 1908, p. 19. 

^A detailed study of the relations between the various aspects of cooper- 
ation and of the law of the minimal expenditure of effort will be found 
in an essay by the present writer, L'Uomo economico e la Cooperasione, 
Societa, Tip. Editr. Naz., Turin, 1909, 



become so firmly established that even millionaires perceive tHe 
necessity of common action. It is easy to understand, tben, that 
organization has become a vital principle in the working class, 
for in default of it their success is a priori impossible. The 
refusal of the worker to participate in the collective life of his 
class cannot fail to entail disastrous consequences. In respect of 
culture and of economic, physical, and physiological conditions, 
the proletarian is the weakest element of our society.^ In fact, 
the isolated member of the working classes is defenceless in the 
hands of those who are economically stronger. It is only by com- 
bination to form a structural aggregate that the proletarians can 
acquire the faculty of political resistance and attain to a social 
dignity. The importance and the influence of the working class 
are directly proportional to its numerical strength. But for the 
representation of that numerical strength organization and co- 
ordination are indispensable. The principle of organization is 
an absolutely essential condition for the political struggle of the 

Yet this politically necessary principle of organization, while 
it overcomes that disorganization of forces which would be 
favourable to the adversary, brings other dangers in its train. 
We escape Scylla only to dash ourselves on Charybdis. Or- 
ganization is, in fact, the source from which the conservative 
currents flow over the plain of democracy, occasioning there 
disastrous floods and rendering the plain unrecognizable. 
. ..a.. 

* The inferiority of the proletarian alike in his anthropological and his 
cultural aspects ia displayed by Nicef ore in the work mentioned in a pre- 
vious note. 



It was a Rhenish Democrat, Moritz Rittinghausen, who first '^ 
made a brilliant attempt to give a real basis for direct legislation 
by the people.^ 

According to this system the entire population was to be 
divided into sections, each containing a thousand inhabitants, as 
was done temporarily for some days in Prussia during the elec- 
tions of the years 1848 and 1849. The members of each section 
were to assemble in some pre-arranged place — a school, a town- 
hall, or other public building — and to elect a president. Every 
citizen was to have the right of speech. In this way the intelli- 
gence of every individual would be placed at the service of the 
fatherland. When the discussion was finished, each one would 
record his vote. The president would transmit the result to the 
burgomaster, who would notify the higher authorities. The will 
of the majority would be decisive. 

No legislative proposal was to come from above. The govern- 
ment should have no further initiative than to determine that 
on a given day all the sections should discuss a given argument. 
Whenever a certain number of the citizens demanded a new law 
of any kind, or the reform of an existing law, the ministry con- 
cerned must invite the people to exercise its sovereignty within a 
stated time, and to pass for itself the law in question.^ The law 

^ Moritz Eittinghausen, Ueher die Organisation der direJcten Gesetzgebung 
durch das Folk, Social. Demokrat. Schriften, No. 4, Coin, 1870, p. 10. 
The merit of having for the first time ventured to put forward practical 
proposals of this nature for the solution of the social problem unquestion- 
ably belongs to Eittinghausen. Victor Considerant, who subsequently re- 
sumed the attempt to establish direct popular government upon a wider 
basis and with a more far-reaching propagandist effect, expressly recognized 
Eittinghausen as his precursor (Victor Considerant, La Solution ou Le 
Gouvernement Direct du Peuple. Librairie Phalansterienne, Paris, 1850, p. 

' In the American constitution those states only are termed federalist 
Xthe name being here used to imply a democratic character) in which the 



takes organic form from the discussion itself. First of all, the 
president opens the debate upon the principal question. Subse- 
quently subordinate points are discussed. Then comes the vote. 
That proposition which has received the majority of votes is 
adopted. As soon as all the returns of the voting have been sent 
to the ministry, a special commission must edit a clear and simple 
text of the law, formulating it in a manner which is not open to 
different interpretations, as is the case with most of the laws pre- 
sented to modern parliaments, for these, as Rittinghausen sarcas- 
tically adds, would seem to incorporate a deliberate intention to 
favour the tendency of lawyers to ambiguity and hair-splitting. 

The system here sketched is clear and concise, and it might 
seem at the first glance that its practical application would 
involve no serious difficulties. But if put to the test it would 
fail to fulfil the expectations of its creator. 

The practical ideal of democracy consists in the self-govern- 
ment of the masses in conformity with the decisions of popular 
assemblies. But while this system limits the extension of the 
principle of delegation, it fails to provide any guarantee against 
the formation of an oligarchical camarilla. Undoubtedly it de- 
prives the natural leaders of their quality as functionaries, for 
this quality is transferred to the people themselves. The crowd, 
however, is always subject to suggestion, being readily influenced 
by the eloquence of great popular orators ; moreover, direct gov- 
ernment by the people, admitting of no serious discussions or 
thoughtful deliberations, greatly facilitates coups de main of all 
kinds by men who are exceptionally bold, energetic, and adroit.^ 

It is easier to dominate a large crowd than a small audience. 
The adhesion of the crowd is tumultuous, summary, and uncon- 
ditional. Once the suggestions have taken effect, the crowd does 
not readily tolerate contradiction from a small minority, and still 
less from isolated individuals. A great multitude assembled 
within a small area is unquestionably more accessible to panic 

people assemble for such a legislative purpose, whilst the states with rep- 
resentative popular government are called republics, 

^It often happens that by such a coup de main one leader will surprise 
and defeat the other. Thus Arturo Labriola, the well-known leader of the 
Italian syndicalists, during the general strike of 1904 at Milan induced 
the great meeting in the Arena to vote for the continuation of the strike, 
securing this by the sole power of his inflammatory eloquence, and in 
opposition to the desire of the representatives of the local labour organi- 
zations. (J Gruppi Socialisti Milanesi al Congresso Socialista Nasionale 
di Boma, October 7-9, 1906. Gruppi Socialisti, Milan, p. 11.) 


alarms, to unreflective enthusiasm, and tlie like, than is a small 
meeting, whose members can quietly discuss matters among them- 
selves (Roscher).* 

It is a fact of everyday experience that enormous public meet- 
ings commonly carry resolutions by acclamation or by general 
assent, whilst these same assemblies, if divided into small sec- 
tions, say of fifty persons each, would be much more guarded in 
their assent. Great party congresses, in which are present the 
elite of the membership, usually act in this way. "Words and 
actions are far less deliberately weighed by the crowd than by 
the individuals or the little groups of which this crowd is com- 
posed. The fact is incontestable — a manifestation of the pathol- 
ogy of the crowd.^ The individual disappears in the multitude, 
and therewith disappears also personality and sense of responsi- 

The most formidable argument against the sovereignty of the 
masses is, however, derived from the mechanical and technical 
impossibility of its realization. 

The sovereign masses are altogether incapable of undertaking 
the most necessary resolutions. The impotence of direct democ- 
racy, like the power of indirect democracy, is a direct outcome 
of the influence of number. In a polemic against Proudhon 
(1849), Louis Blanc asks whether it is possible for thirty-four 
millions of human beings (the population of France at that 
time) to carry on their affairs without accepting what the pettiest 
man of business finds necessary, the intermediation of representa- 
tives. He answers his own question by saying that one who 
declares direct action on this scale to be possible is a fool, and 

*Eoseher, op. cit., p. 358. 

^ This matter has been luminously discussed by French and Italian soci- 
ologists. Cf. Gabriel Tarde, Les crimes des foules, Storck, Lyons, 1892; 
Scipio Sighele, I delitti della folia, Fratelli Bocea, Turin, 1902. See also a 
discussion of the same question conducted with especial reference to the 
Chamber of Deputies, Scipio, Sighele, Contro il parlamentarismo. Saggio 
di psicologia collettiva, Treves, Milan, 1905. 

® ' ' It seems that the simple fact of aggregation brings out the sheeplike 
character of human beings, for wherever we observe great assemblies, 
■\*'hether in public meetings or in parliament, whether we have to do with 
Ehareholders ' meetings, corporate meetings, or university convocations, we 
everywhere find that the majority is content to accept the leadership of 
single individuals, acting no longer in accordance with its own convictions, 
but enslaved by the phrases employed by the leaders" (Ludwig Gumplowicz, 
op. cit., p. 124). 


that one who denies its possibility need not be an absolute oppo- 
nent of the idea of the state.'^ The same question and the same 
answer could be repeated to-day in respect of party organization. 
Above all in the great industrial centres, where the labour party 
sometimes numbers its adherents by tens of thousands, it is im- 
possible to carry on the affairs of this gigantic body without a 
system of representation. The great socialist organization of 
Berlin, which embraces the six constituencies of the city, as well 
,as the two outlying areas of Niederbarnim and Teltow-Beeskow- 
Charlottenburg, has a member-roll of more than ninety thou- 

It is obvious that such a gigantic number of persons belonging 
to a unitary organization cannot do any practical work upon a 
system of direct discussion.'' The regular holding of deliberative 
assemblies of a thousand members encounters the gravest difficul- 
ties in respect of room and distance ; ^° while from the topo- 
graphical point of view such an assembly would become alto- 
gether impossible if the members numbered ten thousand. Even 
if we imagined the means of communication to become much 
better than those which now exist, how would it be possible to 
assemble such a multitude in a given place, at a stated time, 
and with the frequency demanded by the exigencies of party 
life? In addition must be considered the physiological impossi- 
bility even for the most powerful orator of making himself heard 

'Louis Blanc, "L'etat dans une democratie," Questions d'aujourd'hui 
et de demain, Dentu, Paris, 1880, vol. iii, p. 150. 

^Eduard Bernstein, Die Demokratie in der SosialdemoTcratie, "Sozialist. 
Monatshef te, " 1908, fasc. 18-19, p. 1109. 

^ ' ' Quieonque voudrait appliquer a une societe nombreuse le premier prin- 
cipe (celui de faire concourir les individus a la formation des lois par eux- 
memes), sans employer 1 'intermediare, la bouleverserait inf ailliblement " 
(Benjamin Constant, Cours de politique eonstitutionnelle, Societe Typ. 
Beige, Brussels, 1851, vol. iii, p. 246). 

^° Especially in northern climes, where the weather makes it impossible 
to hold open-air meetings for the greater part of the year, and yet it is in 
these very regions that political life attains its highest development. In 
some countries, again, as in Germany, the reactionary governments are most 
unwilling to concede to the populace the right of public meeting in the 
open air, and the use of the theatres for political purposes (as in Italy), 
or of the town halls (as in England), is forbidden. Bernstein is therefore 
right when he says that in most towns it would be impossible, owing to the 
absence of a sufficiently large hall, to unite in a general assembly even a 
considerable proportion of the members of a party or society (Eduard 
Bernstein, Bie Arheiteriewegung, Kiitten u. Loaning, Frankfort-on-the- 
Main, 1910, p. 151). 


by a crowd of ten thousand persons.^^ There are, however, other 
reasons of a technical and administrative character which render 
impossible the direct self-government of large groups. If Peter 
wrongs Paul, it is out of the question that all the other citizens 
should hasten to the spot to undertake a personal examination 
of the matter in dispute, and to take the part of Paul against 
Peter.^2 By parity of reasoning, in the modern democratic 
party, it is impossible for the collectivity to undertake the direct 
settlement of all the controversies that may arise. 

Hence the need for delegation, for the system in which dele- 
gates represent the mass and carry out its will. Even in groups 
sincerely animated with the democratic spirit, current business, 
the preparation and the carrying out of the most important 
actions, is necessarily left in the hands of individuals. It is 
well known that the impossibility for the people to exercise a 
legislative power directly in popular assemblies led the demo- 
cratic idealists of Spain to demand, as the least of evils, a sys- 
tem of popular representation and a parliamentary state.^^ 

Originally the chief is merely the servant of the mass. The 
organization is based upon the absolute equality of all its mem- 
bers. Equality is here understood in its most general sense, as 
an equality of like men. In many countries, as in idealist Italy 
(and in certain regions in Germany where the socialist move- 
ment is still in its infancy), this equality is manifested, among 
other ways, by the mutual use of the familiar ' ' thou, ' ' which is 
employed by the most poorly paid wage-labourer in addressing 
the most distinguished intellectual. This generic conception of 
equality is, however, gradually replaced by the idea of equality 
among comrades belonging to the same organization, all of whose 
members enjoy the same rights. The democratic principle aims 
at guaranteeing to all an equal influence and an equal participa- 
tion in the regulation of the common interests. All are electors, 
and all are eligible for office. The fundamental postulate of the 
Declaration des Droits de V Homme finds here its theoretical 
application. All the offices are filled by election. The officials, 
executive organs of the general will, play a merely subordinate 
part, are always dependent upon the collectivity, and can be 

"Eoscher, op. cit., p. 351. 

" Louis Blanc, op. cit., p. 144. 

" Cf . the letter of Antonio Quiroga to King Ferdinand VII, dated Janu' 
ary 7, 1820 (Don Juan van Halen, Memoires, Eenouard, Paris, 1827, Part 
II, p. 382). 


deprived of their office at any moment. The mass of the party 
is omnipotent. 

At the outset, the attempt is made to depart as little as possible 
from pure democracy hy subordinating the delegates altogether 
to the will of the mass, by tying them hand and foot. In the 
early days of the movement of the Italian agricultural workers, 
the chief of the league required a majority of four-fifths of the 
votes to secure election. When disputes arose with the employers 
about wages, the representative of the organization, before under- 
taking any negotiations, had to be furnished with a written 
authority, authorized by the signature of every member of the 
corporation. All the accounts of the body were open to the 
examination of the members, at any time. There were two rea- 
sons for this. First of all, the desire was to avoid the spread of 
mistrust through the mass, ''this poison which gradually destroys 
even the strongest organism." In the second place, this usage 
allowed each one of the members to learn bookkeeping, and to 
acquire such a general knowledge of the working of the corpora- 
tion as to enable him at any time to take over its leadership.^* 
It is obvious that democracy in this sense is applicable only on 
a very small scale. In the infancy of the English labour move- 
ment, in many of the trade-unions, the delegates were either ap- 
pointed in rotation from among all the members, or were chosen 
by lot.^^ Gradually, however, the delegates' duties become more 
complicated ; some individual ability becomes essential, a certain 
oratorical gift, and a considerable amount of objective knowl- 
edge. It thus becomes impossible to trust to blind chance, to the 
fortune of alphabetic succession, or to the order of priority, in the 
choice of a delegation whose members must possess certain pecul- 
iar personal aptitudes if they are to discharge their mission to 
the general advantage. 

Such were the methods which prevailed in the early days of 
the labour movement to enable the masses to participate in 
party and trade-union administration. To-day they are falling 
into disuse, and in the development of the modern political 
aggregate there is a tendency to shorten and stereotype the 
process which transforms the led into a leader — a process which 
has hitherto developed by the natural course of events. Here 

"Egidio Bernaroli, Manuale per la costitusione e il funsionamento delle 
leghe del contadini, Libreria Soc. Ital., Eome, 1902, pp. 20, 26, 27, 52. 

^^ Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Industrial Democracy (German edition), 
Stuttgart, 1898, vol. i, p. 6. 


and there voices make themselves heard demanding a sort of 
ofScial consecration for the leaders, insisting that it is necessary 
to constitute a class of professional politicians, of approved and 
registered experts in political life. Ferdinand Tonnies advo- 
cates that the party should institute regular examinations for the 
nomination of socialist parliamentary candidates, and for the 
appointment of party secretaries.^^ Heinrich Herkner goes even 
farther. He contends that the great trade-unions cannot long 
maintain their existence if they persist in entrusting the manage- 
ment of their affairs to persons drawn from the rank and file, 
who have risen to command stage by stage solely in consequence 
of practical aptitudes acquired in the service of the organization. 
He refers, in this connection, to the unions that are controlled 
by the employers, whose officials are for the most part university 
men. He foresees that in the near future all the labour or- 
ganizations will be forced to abandon proletarian exclusiveness, 
and in the choice of their officials to give the preference to per- 
sons of an education that is superior alike in economic, legal, 
technical, and commercial respects.^'' 

Even to-day, the candidates for the secretaryship of a trade- 
union are subject to examination as to their knowledge of legal 
matters and their capacity as letter-writers. The socialist or- 
ganizations engaged in political action also directly undertake 
the training of their own officials. Everywhere there are coming 
into existence "nurseries" for the rapid supply of officials pos- 
sessing a certain amount of "scientific culture." Since 1906 
there has existed in Berlin a Party-School in which courses of 
instruction are given for the training of those who wish to take 
office in the socialist party or in the trade-unions. The instruc- 
tors are paid out of the funds of the socialist party, which was 
directly responsible for the foundation of the school. The 
other expenses of the undertaking, including the maintenance of 
the pupils, are furnished from a common fund supplied by the 
party and the various trade-unions interested. In addition, the 
families of the pupils, in so far as the attendance of these at 
the school deprives the families of their bread-winners, receive 
an allowance from the provincial branch of the party or from 
the local branch of the union to which each pupil belongs. The 

'^ Ferdinand Tonnies, Politik und Moral, Neuer Frankf . Verl., Frankfort, 
1901, p. 46. 

" Heinrich Herkner, Die Arbeiterfrage, Guttentag, Berlin, 1908, 5th ed., 
pp. 116, 117. 


third course of this school, from October 1, 1908, to April 3, 1909, 
was attended by twenty-six pupils, while the first year there had 
been thirty-one and the second year thirty-three. As pupils, 
preference is given to comrades who already hold office in the 
party or in one of the labour unions.^* Those who do not already 
belong to the labour bureaucracy make it their aim to enter that 
body, and cherish the secret hope that attendance at the school 
will smooth their path. Those who fail to attain this end are 
apt to exhibit a certain discontent with the party which, after 
having encouraged their studies, has sent them back to manual 
labour. Among the 141 students of the year 1910-11, three 
classes were to be distinguished: one of these consisted of old 
and tried employees in the different branches of the labour move- 
ment (fifty-two persons) ; a second consisted of those who ob- 
tained employment in the party or the trade-unions directly the 
course was finished (forty-nine persons) ; the third consisted of 
those who had to return to manual labour (forty persons ).^^ 

In Italy, L'TJvnardtaria, a philanthropic organization run by 
the socialists, founded at Milan in 1905 a "Practical School of 
Social Legislation," whose aim it is to give to a certain number 
of workers an education which will fit them for becoming factory 
inspectors, or for taking official positions in the various labour 
organizations, in the friendly societies, or in the labour ex- 
changes.^*^ The course of instruction lasts for two years, and at 
its close the pupils receive, after examination, a diploma which 
entitles them to the title of ''Labour Expert." In 1908 there 
were two hundred and two pupils, thirty-seven of whom were 
employees of trade unions or of co-operative societies, four were 
secretaries of labour exchanges, forty-five employees in or mem- 
bers of the liberal professions, and a hundred and twelve working 
men.^^ At the outset most of the pupils came to the school as a 
matter of personal taste, or with the aim of obtaining the 
diploma in order to secure some comparatively lucrative private 
employment. But quite recently the governing body has deter- 
mined to suppress the diploma, and to institute a supplementary 

^^ ProtoTcoll des Parteitags su Leipzig, 1909, "Vorwarts, " Berlin, 1909, 
p. 48. 

^^Heinrich Schiilz, Fiinf Jahre Parteischule, "Neue Zeit, " Anno xxix, 
vol. ii, fase. 49, p. 807. 

'^'^Scuola Prat, di Legislaz. Sociale (Programma e Norme), anno iii, See. 
Umanitaria, Milan, 1908. 

"^ Ibid., anno iv, Milan, 1909, p. 5. 


course open to those only who are already employed by some 
labour organization or who definitely intend to enter such em- 
ployment. For those engaged upon this special course of study 
there will be provided scholarships of £2 a week, the funds for 
this purpose being supplied in part by L'Umanitaria and in part 
by the labour organizations which wish to send their employees 
to the school.^^ In the year 1909, under the auspices of the 
Bourse du Travail, there was founded at Turin a similar school 
(Scuola Pratica di Cultura e Legislazione Sociale), which, how- 
ever, soon succumbed. 

In England the trade-unions and co-operative societies make 
use of Ruskin College, Oxford, sending thither those of their 
members who aspire to office in the labour organizations, and 
who have displayed special aptitudes for this career.^^ In Aus- 
tria it is proposed to found a party school upon the German 

It is undeniable that all these educational institutions for the 
officials of the party and of the labour organizations tend, above 
all, towards the artificial creation of an elite of the working- 
class, of a caste of cadets composed of persons who aspire to the 
command of the proletarian rank and file. Without wishing 
it, there is thus effected a continuous enlargement of the gulf 
which divides the leaders from the masses. 

The technical specialization that inevitably results from all 
extensive organization renders necessary what is called expert 
leadership. Consequently the power of determination comes to 
be considered one of the specific attributes of leadership, and is 
gradually withdrawn from the masses to be concentrated in the 
hands of the leaders alone.^^ Thus the leaders, who were at first 

^^Einaldo Eigola, I funsionari delle organizsazioni, "Avanti, " anno xiv, 
No. 341. 

^See the admirable description given by Lily Braun in her Londoner 
Tagebucli, "Neue Gesellschaf t, " anno ii, fase. xxix, 1906. — More recently, 
in England, another body with similar objects to Euskin College, but more 
definitely socialist in tendency, has come into existence, and is known as the 
Central Labour College. It was founded in Oxford in 1909, to some extent 
in opposition to Euskin College, since the education given at this latter was 
regarded as being unduly influenced by the Oxford outlook, by the views 
of the dominant class. The Central Labour College insists on the labour 
point of view in all its educational work. Owing to the opposition of the 
University landowners it was removed to London in 1911. 

^Otto Bauer, Eine Parteischule fiir Oesterreich, *'Der Kampf," Vienna, 
anno iii. fasc. 4. 

** " In intimate connection with these theoretical tendencies, there results 


no more than the executive organs of the collective will, soon 
emancipate themselves from the mass and become independent 
of its control. 

Organization implies the tendency to oligarchy. In every or- 
ganization, whether it be a political party, a professional union, 
or any other association of the kind, the aristocratic tendency 
manifests itself very clearly. The mechanism of the organiza- 
tion, while conferring a solidity of structure, induces serious 
changes in the organized mass, completely inverting the respec- 
tive position of the leaders and the led. As a result of organiza- 
tion, every party or professional union becomes divided into aJ 
minority of directors and a majority of directed. 

It has been remarked that in the lower stages of civilization 
tyranny is dominant. Democracy cannot come into existence 
until there is attained a subsequent and more highly developed 
stage of social life. Freedoms and privileges, and among these 
latter the privilege of taking part in the direction of public 

a change in the relationship between the leaders and the mass. For the 
comradely leadership of local committees with all its undeniable defects 
there is substituted the professional leadership of the trade-union ofl&cials. 
Initiative and capacity for decision thus become what may be called a pro- 
fessional speciality, whilst for the rank and fQe is left the passive virtue of 
discipline. There can be no doubt that this seamy side of officialism involves 
serious dangers for the party. The latest innovation in this direction, in 
the German social democratic party, is the appointment of salaried secre- 
taries to the local branches. Unless the rank and file of the party keep 
very much on the alert, unless they are careful that these secretaries shall 
be restricted to purely executive functions, the secretaries will come to be 
regarded as the natural and sole depositaries of all power of initiative, and 
as the exclusive leaders of local party life. In the socialist party, however, 
by the nature of things, by the very character of the political struggle, 
narrower limits are imposed upon bureaucracy than in the case of the trade- 
unions. In these latter, the technical specialization of the wage-struggle 
(the need, for example, for the drafting of complicated sliding scales and 
the like) often leads the chiefs to deny that the mass of organized workers 
can possess "a general view of the economic life of the country as a 
whole," and to deny, therefore, their capacity of judgment in such matters. 
The most typical outcome of this conception is afforded by the argument 
with which the leaders are accustomed to forbid all theoretical criticism of 
the prospects and possibilities of practical trade-unionism, asserting that 
such criticism involves a danger for the spirit of organization. This reason- 
ing starts from the assumption that the workers can be won for organization 
and can be induced to remain faithful to their trade-unions only by a blind 
and artless belief in the saving efficacy of the trade-union struggle ' ' (Eosa 
Luxemburg, Massenstreih, Partei u. GewerTcschaften, Erdmann Dubber, 
Hamburg, 1906, p. 61). 


affairs, are at first restricted to tlie few. Eeeent times have 
been characterized by the gradual extension of these privileges 
to a vridening circle. This is what we know as the era of 
democracy. But if we pass from the sphere of the state to the 
sphere of party, we may observe that as democracy continues to 
develop, a backwash sets in. With the advance of organization, 
democracy tends to decline. Democratic evolution has a para- 
bolic course. At the present time, at any rate as far as party 
life is concerned, democracy is in the descending phase. It may 
be enunciated as a general rule that the increase in the power 
of the leaders is directly proportional with the extension of the 
organization. In the various parties and labour organizations 
of different countries the influence of the leaders is mainly deter- 
mined (apart from racial and individual grounds) by the vary- 
ing development of organization. Where organization is stronger, 
w^ find that there is a lesser degree of applied democracy. 

Every solidly constructed organization, whether it be a demo- 
cratic state, a political party, or a league of proletarians for the 
resistance of economic oppression, presents a soil eminently 
favourable for the differentiation of organs and of functions. 
The more extended and the more ramified the official apparatus 
of the organization, the greater the number of its members, the 
fuller its treasury, and the more widely circulated its press, the 
less efficient becomes the direct control exercised by the rank and 
file, and the more is this control replaced by the increasing 
power of committees.^® Into all parties there insinuates itself 
that indirect electoral system which in public life the democratic 
parties fight against with all possible vigour. Yet in party life 
the influence of this system must be more disastrous than in the 
far more extensive life of the state. Even in the party con- 
gresses, which represent the party-life seven times sifted, we 
find that it becomes more and more general to refer all important 
questions to committees which debate in camera. 

As organization develops, not only do the tasks of the admin- 
istration become more difficult and more complicated, but, fur- 
ther, its duties become enlarged and specialized to such a degree 
that it is no longer possible to take them all in at a single glance. 

^ ' ' Here we see the beginning of a danger which is imminent in all popu- 
lar administration, namely, that in place of true democracy there should 
develop an omnipotent influence of committees" ("Wolfgang Heine, Demo- 
Tcratische BandbemerTcungen sum Fall GoJire, " Sozialistische Monatshef te, " 
viii (x), fasc. 4, p. 254). 


In a rapidly progressive movement, it is not only the growth in 
the number of duties, but also the higher quality of these, which 
imposes a more extensive differentiation of function. Nominally, 
land according to the letter of the rules, iall the acts of the leaders 
are subject to the ever vigilant criticism of the rank and file. 
In theory the leader is merely an employee bound by the instruc- 
tions he receives. He has to carry out the orders of the mass, 
of which he is no more than the executive organ. But in actual 
fact, as the organization increases in size, this control becomes 
purely fictitious. The members have to give up the idea of them- 
selves conducting or even supervising the whole administration, 
and are compelled to hand these tasks over to trustworthy persons 
specially nominated for the purpose, to salaried officials. The 
rank and file must content themselves with summary reports, and 
with the appointment of occasional special committees of inquiry. 
Yet this does not derive from any special change in the rules of 
the organization. It is by very necessity that a simple employee 
gradually becomes a "leader," acquiring a freedom of action 
which he ought not to possess. The chief then becomes accus- 
tomed to despatch important business on his own responsibility, 
and to decide various questions relating to the life of the party 
without any attempt to consult the rank and file. It is obvious 
that democratic control thus undergoes a progressive diminution, 
and is ultimately reduced to an infinitesimal minimum. In all 
the socialist parties there is a continual increase in the number 
of functions withdrawn from the electoral assemblies and trans- 
ferred to the executive committees. In this way there is con- 
structed a powerful and complicated edifice. The principle of 
division of labour coming more and more into operation, execu- 
tive authority undergoes division and subdivision. There is thus 
constituted a rigorously defined and hierarchical bureaucracy.^'^ 
In the catechism of party duties, the strict observance of hierar- 

^ Achille Loria has drawn attention to the numerous resemblances be- 
tween administrative hierarchy and economic. The chief point of resem- 
blance is found, according to him, in the echeloned pyramidal structure of 
both. He writes: "Just as in the executive we have a limited number of 
chiefs commanding a larger number of sub-chiefs, and these a still larger 
number of subordinates, down to the lowest employees who exhibit the 
maximum numerical density, in the same way a small handful of the great- 
est recipients of income rules a larger number of less wealthy recipients of 
income, these rule a still greater number of recipients of more modest in- 
comes, and so on down to the incomes of the lowest degree, which are the 
most numerous" (Achille Loria, La Sintesi economica, Bocca, Turin, 1909, 


chical rules becomes the first article. This hierarchy comes into 
existence as the outcome of technical conditions, and its constitu- 
tion is an essential postulate of the regular functioning of the 
party machine. 

>/ It is indisputable that the oligarchical and bureaucratic ten- 
dency of party organization is a matter of technical and practical 
necessity. It is the inevitable product of the very principle of 
organization. Not even the most radical wing of the various 
socialist parties raises any objection to this retrogressive evolu- 
tion, the contention being that democracy is only a form of 
organization and that where it ceases to be possible to harmonize 
democracy with organization, it is better to abandon the former 
than the latter. Organization, since it is the only means of at- 
taining the ends of socialism, is considered to comprise within 
itself the revolutionary content of the party, and this essential 
content must never be sacrificed for the sake of form.^^ 

In all times, in all phases of development, in all branches 
of human activity, there have been leaders.^^ It is true that cer- 
tain socialists, above all the orthodox Marxists of Germany, seek 
to convince us that socialism knows nothing of "leaders," that 
the party has "employees" merely, being a democratic party, 
and the existence of leaders being incompatible with democracy. 
But a false assertion such as this cannot override a sociological 
law. Its only result is, in fact, to strengthen the rule of the 
leaders, for it serves to conceal from the mass a danger which 
really threatens democracy. 

For technical and administrative reasons, no less than for 

p. 348. — Eng. trans., The Economic Synthesis, Allen, London, 1914, p. 317). 
Loria might have added that the two species of hierarchy differ in respect 
of their apices, for one terminates in a point, being dynastic, while in the 
other the apex is truncated, the hierarchy being plutocratic. The adminis- 
tration of political parties does not come into the scope of Loria 's consid- 
erations. As far as the pyramid of the party hierarchy is concerned, its 
apex is certainly less conspicuously pointed than that of a monarchical 
regime, but none the less in the political party the administration is in the 
hands of chiefs whose number is comparatively restricted, so that the apex 
of this pyramid is more acute than that of the pyramid which represents 
the hierarchy of economic powers in a country far advanced in capitalist 

** Cf . Hans Block, TJeherspannwng der BemoTcratie, ' ' Neue Zeit, ' ' xxvi. No. 
8, pp. 264 et seq. 

"Eben Mumford (The Origins of Leadership, University Press, Chicago, 
1909, pp. 1-12) has developed this thesis especially in relation to primitive 


tactical reasons, a strong organization needs an equally strong 
leadership. As long as an organization is loosely constructed and 
vague in its outlines, no professional leadership can arise. The 
anarchists, who have a horror of all fixed organization, have no 
regular leaders. In the early days of German socialism, the 
Vertrauensmann (homme de confiance) continued to exercise his 
ordinary occupation. If he received any pay for his work for 
the party, the remuneration was on an extremely modest scale, 
and was no more than a temporary grant. His function could 
never he regarded hy him as a regular source of income. The 
employee of the organization was still a simple workmate, sharing 
the mode of life and the social condition of his fellows.^'' To-day 
he has been replaced for the most part by the professional 
politician, Berzirksleiter (U.S. ward-boss), etc. The more solid 
the structure of an organization becomes in the course of the 
evolution of the modern political party, the more marked be- 
comes the tendency to replace the emergency leader by the pro- 
fessional leader. Every party organization which has attained 
to a considerable degree of complication demands that there 
should be a certain number of persons who devote all their 
activities to the work of the party. The mass provides these by 
delegation, and the delegates, regularly appointed, become per- 
manent representatives of the mass for the direction of its affairs. 
V' For democracy, however, the first appearance of professional 
leadership marks the beginning of the end, and this, above all, on 
account of the logical impossibility of the "representative" sys- 
tem, whether in parliamentary life or in party delegation. Jean 
Jacques Rousseau may be considered as the founder of this 
aspect of the criticism of democracy. He defines popular govern- 
ment as ''I'exercice de la volonte generale," and draws from this 
the logical inference, "elle ne pent jamais s'aliener, et le 
souverain, qui n'est qu'un etre collectif, ne pent etre represente 
que par lui-meme." Consequently, *'a I'instant qu'un peuple se 
donne des representants, il n'est plus libre, il n'est plus." ^^ A 
mass which delegates its sovereignty, that is to say transfers its 
sovereignty to the hands of a few individuals, abdicates its sov- 

"' Cf . Eduard Bernsteiti, Die Arheiterhewegung, Eutten u. Loening, Frank- 
fort-on-tbe-Main, 1910, p. 141. For the historical counterpart that is of- 
fered by the evolution of officialdom within the state, cf. Gustav Schmoller, 
Umrisse u. V titer suchung en zur Verfassungs- Veriualtungs- u. Wirtscliafisge- 
scMchte, Dunker u. Humblot, Leipzig, 1898, p. 291. 

®^Jean Jacques Eousseau, Le Contrat social (lib. cit., pp. 40 et seq.). 


ereign functions.^^ For the will of the people is not transferable, 
nor even the will of the single individual. However much in 
practice, during the confused years of the Terror, the doctrine 
was abandoned by the disciples of the philosopher of Geneva, it 
was at this time in theory universally admitted as incontro- 
vertible. Kobespierre himself accepted it, making a subtle dis- 
tinction between the " representant du peuple," who has no 
right to exist, "parce que la volonte ne pent se representer, " and 
"le mandataire du peuple, a qui le peuple a donne la premiere 
puissance. ' ' 

The experience of attentive observers of the working of the 
first attempts at a representative system, contributed to estab- 
lish more firmly the theory of the limits of democracy. Towards 
the middle of the nineteenth century this theory, the outcome of 
an empirical psychology, was notably enlarged, its claim to 
general validity was sustained, and it was formulated as the 
basis of definite rules and precepts. Carlo Pisacane, the theorist, 
too soon forgotten, of the national and social revolution in Italy, 
expounds in his Saggio sulla Kivoluzione how the men in whose 
hands supreme political power is placed must, from their very 
nature as human beings, be subject to passions and to the phy- 
sical and mental imperfections therefrom resulting. For this 
reason the tendency and the acts of their rule are in direct con- 
trast with the tendency and the acts of the mass, ' ' for the latter 
represent the mean of all individual judgments and determina- 
tions, and are therefore free from the operation of such influ- 
ences. ' ' To maintain of a government that it represents public 
opinion and the will of the nation is simply to mistake a part 
for the whole.^^ He thus considers delegation to be an absurdity. 
Victor Considerant, a contemporary of Pisacane and the repre- 
sentative of a similar tendency, also followed in the tracks of 
Rousseau: ''Si le peuple delegue sa souverainete, il I'abdique. 
Le peuple ne se gouverne plus lui-meme, on le gouverne. . . . 
Peuple, delegue done ta souverainete ! Cela fait, je te garantis, 
a ta souverainete le sort inverse de celui de Saturne : ta souve- 
rainete sera devoree par la Delegation, ta fille."^* The theorists 

'^ Quite recently some of the most notable of the revisionists have come 
to hold this opinion. Cf., for example, Eugene Fourniere, La Sociocratie. 
Essai de Politique positive, Giard et Briere, Paris, 1910, pp. 98 et seq. 

« Carlo Pisacane, Saggio sulla Sivolusione, with a preface by Napoleone 
Colajanni, Lib. Treves di Pietro Virano, Bologna, 1894, pp. 121-5. 

** Victor Considerant, op. cit., pp. 13-15. 


of democracy are never tired of asserting that, when voting, the 
people is at one and the same time exercising its sovereignty and 
renouncing it. The great democrat Ledru-Rollin, the father of 
universal and equal suffrage in France, goes so far as to demand 
the suppression of president and parliament^ and the recognition 
of the general assembly of the people as the sole legislative organ. 
If people^ he continues, find it possible in the course of the year 
to waste so much time upon public entertainments, holidays, and 
loafing, they could surely make a better use of their time by de- 
voting it " a cimenter son independance, sa grandeur et sa pros- 
perite. " ^^ 

Victor Considerant fiercely opposed the theory that popular 
sovereignty is guaranteed by the representative system. Even 
if we make the theoretical admission that in ahstracto parlia- 
mentary government does indeed embody government by the 
masses, in practical life it is nothing but a continuous fraud on 
the part of the dominant class. Under representative govern- 
ment the difference between democracy and monarchy, which 
are both rooted in the representative system, is altogether insig- 
nificant — a difference not in substance but in form. The sover- 
eign people elects, in place of a king, a number of kinglets. Not 
possessing sufficient freedom and independence to direct the life 
of the state, it tamely allows itself to be despoiled of its funda- 
mental right. The one right which the people reserves is the 
" climaterique et derisoire" privilege of choosing from time to 
time a new set of masters.^® To this criticism of the representa- 
tive system may be appended the remark of Proudhon, to the 
effect that the representatives of the people have no sooner been 
raised to power than they set to work to consolidate and rein- 
force their influence. They continue unceasingly to surround 
their positions by new lines of defence, until they have succeeded 
in emancipating themselves completely from popular control. 
All power thus proceeds in a natural cycle: issuing from the 
people, it ends by raising itself above the people.^'^ In the forties 
of the last century these ideas were widely diffused and their 
truth was almost universally admitted, and in France more par- 
ticularly by students of social science and by democratic states- 

^'^ A. A. Ledru-EoUin, Pliis de President, 'plus de Sepresentants, ed. de 
"La Voix du Proscrit," Paris, 1851, 2nd ed., p. 7. 

^° Victor Considerant, op. cit., pp. 11-12. 

^' Cf . P. J. Proudhon, Les Confessions d'un Bevolutionnaire. Pour servir 
a la devolution de Fevrier, Verboeckhoven, Paris, 1868, new ed., p. 286. 


men. Even the clericals mingled their voices with those which 
condemned the representative system. Louis Veuillot, the 
Catholic, said: "Quand j'ai vote, mon egalite tombe dans la 
boite avec mon bulletin ; ils disparaissent ensemble. ' ' ^^ To-day 
this theory is the central feature of the political criticism of the 
various schools of anarchists, who often expound it eloquently 
and acutely .^'^ Finally Marx and his followers, who in theory 
regard parliamentary action as but one weapon among many, 
but who in practice employ this weapon alone, do not fail to rec- 
ognize incidentally the perils of the representative system, even 
when based upon universal suffrage. But the Marxists hasten 
to add that the socialist party is quite free from these dangers.^'' 
Popular sovereignty has recently been subjected to a profound 
criticism by a group of Italian writers conservative in their 
tendency. Gaetano IMosca speaks of "the falsity of the parlia- 
mentary legend." He says that the idea of popular represen- 
tation as a free and spontaneous transference of the sovereignty 
of the electors (collectivity) to a certain number of elected per- 
sons (minority) is based upon the absurd premise that the mi- 
nority can be bound to the collective will by unbreakable bonds.*^ 
In actual fact, directly the election is finished, the power of the 
mass of electors over the delegate comes to an end. The deputy 
regards himself as authorized arbiter of the situation, and really 
is such. If among the electors any are to be found who possess 
some influence over the representative of the people, their num- 
ber is very small ; they are the big guns of the constituency or of 
the local branch of the party. In other words, they are persons 
who, whilst belonging by social position to the class of the ruled, 
have in fact come to form part of the ruling oligarchy .*- 

^ Louis Veuillot, Qa et Id, Caume Freres et Duprey, Paris, 1860, 2nd ed., 
vol. i, p. 368. 

^^Cf., for example, Enrico Malatesta in two pamphlets: L'anarcJiia (Casa 
ed. Pensiero, Eome, 6tli ed., 1907), and La Politica parlamentare del Partito 
sociaJista (ediz. dell' "Allarme," Turin, 1903). Cf. also Ferdinand Do- 
mela Nieuwenhuis, Eet Parlamentarisme in sijn Wezen en Toepassing, W. 
Sligting, Amsterdam, 1906, pp. 149 et seq. 

*" Cf . Karl Kautsky, Eosa Luxemburg, and others. In the works of Karl 
Marx we find traces here and there of a theoretical mistrust of the repre- 
sentative system; see especially this writer's Revolution u. Kontre-Bevolu- 
tion in DeutscJiland, Dietz, Stuttgart, 1896, p. 107. 

*^ Cf . Gaetano Mosca, Questio7ii pratiche di Diritto costitusionale, Fra- 
teUi Bocca, Turin, 1898, pp. 81 et seq. Also Sulla Teorica dei Governi e 
sul Governo parlamentare, Loescher, Eome, 1884, pp. 120 et seq. 

" ' ' An electional system simply places power in the hands of the most 


This criticism of the representative system is applicable above 
all in our own days, in which political life continually assumes 
more complex forms. As this complexity increases, it becomes 
more and more absurd to attempt to "represent" a heterogene- 
ous mass in all the innumerable problems which arise out of the 
increasing differentiation of our political and economic life. To 
represent, in this sense, comes to mean that the purely individual 
desire masquerades and is accepted as the will of the mass.*^ 
In certain isolated cases, where the questions involved are ex- 
tremely simple, and where the delegated authority is of brief 
duration, representation is possible. But permanent representa- 
tion will always be tantamount to the exercise of dominion by 
the representatives over the represented. 

skilful electioneers" (H. G. Wells, Anticipations of the Eeaction of Me- 
chanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought, Chapman 
and Hall, London, 1904, p. 58). Of course, this applies only to countries 
with a republican-democratic constitution. 

*^ Fouillee writes aptly in this connection : " Si j 'use personnellement de 
mon droit civil d'aller et de venir pour me rendre de Marseille a Paris, 
je ne vous empeche pas, vous, d'aller de Paris a Marseille; I'exercice de ma 
liberte civile ne vous enleve rien de la votre. Mais, quand j 'envoie a la 
Chambre un depute qui appliquera a vos depens des mesures centre les- 
quellea vous avez tou jours proteste, cette iaqon de me gouverner implique 
une fagon de vous gouverner qui vous est penible et qui pent etre in juste. 
Le droit civil est une liberte pour soi et sur soi; le droit politique est un 
droit sur autrui et sur le tout en meme temps que sur moi-meme" (Alfred 
Fouillee, Erreurs sociologiques et morales de la Sociologie, * * Eevue des deux 
Mondes," Uv, p. 330). 



Louis XIV understood the art of government as have few princes 
either before or since, and this was the case above all in the first 
half of his reign, when his spirit was still young and fresh. In 
his memoirs of the year 1666, he lays down for every branch 
of the administration, and more especially for the conduct of 
military affairs, the following essential rules: "que les resolu- 
tions doivent etre promptes, la discipline exact, les commande- 
ments absolus, I'obeissance ponctuelle."^ The essentials thus 
enumerated by the B,oi Soleil (promptness of decision, unity of 
command, and strictness of discipline) are equally applicable, 
mutaiis mutandis, to the various aggregates of modern political 
life, for these are in a perpetual condition of latent warfare. 

The modern party is a fighting organization in the political 
sense of the term, and must as such conform to the laws of tac- 
tics. Now the first article of these laws is facility of mobiliza- 
tion. Ferdinand Lassalle, the founder of a revolutionary labour 
party, recognized this long ago, contending that the dictatorship 
which existed in fact in the society over which he presided was 
as thoroughly justified in theory as it was indispensable in prac- 
tice. The rank and file, he said, must follow their chief blindly, 
and the whole organization must be like a hammer in the hands 
of its president. 

This view of the matter was in correspondence with political 
necessity, especially in Lassalle 's day, when the labour move- 
ment was in its infancy, and when it was only by a rigorous 
discipline that this movement could hope to obtain respect and 
consideration from the bourgeois parties. Centralization guar- 
anteed, and always guarantees, the rapid formation of resolu- 
tions. An extensive organization is per se a heavy piece of 

^Memoires de Louis XIV pour V instruction du Dauphin, annotees par 
Charles Deyss, Paris, 1860, vol. ii, p. 123. 



mechanism, and one difficult to put in operation. When we have 
to do with a mass distributed over a considerable area, to con- 
sult the rank and file upon every question would involve an 
enormous loss of time, and the opinion thus obtained would 
moreover be summary and vague. But the problems of the hour 
need a speedy decision, and this is why democracy can no longer 
function in its primitive and genuine form, unless the policy 
pursued is to be temporizing, involving the loss of the most fa- 
vourable opportunities for action. Under such guidance, the 
party becomes incapable of acting in alliance with others, and 
loses its political elasticity. A fighting party needs a hierar- 
chical structure. In the absence of such a structure, the party 
will be comparable to a savage and shapeless negro army, which 
is unable to withstand a single well-disciplined and well-drilled 
battalion of European soldiers. 

In the daily struggle, nothing but a certain degree of csesar- 
ism will ensure the rapid transmission and the precise execution 
of orders. The Dutch socialist. Van Kol, frankly declares that 
true democracy cannot be installed until the fight is over. Mean- 
while, even a socialist leadership must possess authority, and 
sufficient force to maintain itself in power. A provisional des- 
potism is, he contends, essential, and liberty itself must yield 
to the need for prompt action. Thus the submission of the 
masses to the will of a few individuals comes to be considered 
one of the highest of democratic virtu-es. '*A ceux que sont 
appeles a nous conduire, nous promettons fidelite et soumission 
et nous leur disons : Hommes ennoblis par le choix du peuple, 
montrez nous le chemin, nous vous suivrons. " ^ It is such ut- 
terances as this which reveal to us the true nature of the mod- 
ern party. In a party, and above all in a fighting political party, 
democracy is not for home consumption, but is rather an article 
made for export. Every political organization has need of ''a 
light equipment which will not hamper its movements." De- 
mocracy is utterly incompatible with strategic promptness, and 
the forces of democracy do not lend themselves to the rapid 
opening of a campaign. This is why political parties, even when 
democratic, exhibit so much hostility to the referendum and to 
all other measures for the safeguard of real democracy ; and this 
is why in their constitution these parties exhibit, if not uncondi- 

^Eienzi [van Kol], Socialisme et Liberie, Giard et Briere, Paris, 1898, 
pp. 243-53. 


tional c^sarism, at least extremely strong centralizing and oli- 
garchical tendencies. Lagardelle puts the finishing touches to 
the picture in the following words: "Et ils ont reproduit a 
I'usage des proletaires les moyens de domination des capitalistes ; 
ils ont constitue un gouvernement ouvrier aussi dur que le gou- 
vernement bourgeois, une bureaucratic ouvriere aussi lourde que 
la bureaucratic bourgeoise, un pouvoir central qui dit aux 
ouvriers ce qu'ils peuvent et ce qu'ils ne peuvent pas faire, qui 
brisent dans les syndicats et chez les syndiques toute indepen- 
dance et toute initiative et qui doit parfois inspirer a ses vic- 
times le regret des modes capitalistes de I'autorite."^ 

The close resemblance between a fighting democratic party 
and a military organization is reflected in socialist terminology, 
which is largely borrowed, and especially in Germany, from mili- 
tary science. There is hardly one expression of military tactics 
and strategy, hardly even a phrase of barrack slang, which does 
not recur again and again in the leading articles of the socialist 
press.* in the daily practice of the socialist struggle it is true 
that preference is almost invariably given to the temporizing 
tactics of Fabius Cunctator, but this depends upon special cir- 
cumstances^ which will be subsequently discussed (Part VI, chap. 

^Hubert Lagardelle, Le Parti Socialiste et la Confederation du Travail, 
Discussion, avec J. Guesde, Eiviere, Paris, 1907, p. 24. 

*As typical may be instanced the expressions used by Kautsky in his 
article Was nun?, "Neue Zeit, " xxviii, No. 29, p. 68. "Like all other 
strategy, the Fabian strategy is dependent upon certain conditions which 
alone make it possible and appropriate. It would be foolish to wish to apply 
it in. all circumstances, and the fact that we have for many years used it 
with brilliant success is no reason, why we should continue to use it for all 
time. When circumstances change, a new strategical method may be neces- 
sary. In war, the Fabian strategy becomes impossible or undesirable when 
the enemy is threatening to cut us off from our base or even to occupy that 
base. Direct attack then becomes a matter of self-preservation. Similarly 
f^e Fabian strategy must be abandoned when it demoralizes and discourages 
our own troops, when it threatens to induce cowardice and desertion, and 
when only a policy of vigorous attack can hold the army together. It also 
becomes impossible to avoid assuming the offensive when we are caught in 
a blind alley, where our only choice is between giving battle and a shameful 
capitulation. Finally, the change to an offensive strategy is indicated when 
the enemy himself is in a tight corner, so that the situation is favourable to 
our side, and by a rapid and energetic use of our opportunity we can deliver 
a vigorous and perhaps fatal blow. The transference of these considerations 
from the military to the political field does not require lengthy explana- 
tions." It is perhaps worthy of note that the French socialists of anti- 
militarist tendency are in the habit of referring to their leader Gustave 
N^erve as **notre General." 


i) . The intimate association between party life and military life 
is manifested also by the passionate interest which some of the 
most distinguished leaders of German socialism take in military 
affairs. During his residence in England, the German merchant 
Frederick Engels, who had once served in the Guards as a 
volunteer, devoted his leisure to the simultaneous exposition of 
socialist and of militarist theory.^ To Bebel, the son of a Prus- 
sian non-commissioned officer, the world is indebted for a number 
of ideas of reform in matters of military technique which have 
nothing in common with the theoretical socialist anti-militarism.^ 
Bebel and Engels, and especially the latter, may even be con- 
sidered as essentially military writers. This tendency on the 
part of socialist leaders is not the outcome of mere chance, but 
depends upon an instinct of elective affinity, 

*See in particular Engels' works: Po und Bhein (1859) ; Savoy en, Nissa 
und der Bhein (1860); Die preussische Militdrfrage und die deutsche Ar- 
beiterpartei (1865); Der deutsche BauernJcrieg (1875, Vorwarts-Verlag, Ber- 
lin, 1909, 3rd ed. edited by Mehring) ; Kann Europa dbriisten? (Nuremberg, 

' Cf ., for example, the pamphlet NicJit steJiendes Heer, sondern VolTcswehr, 
Dietz, Stuttgart, 1908, p. 80; also a large number of speeches in the Eeichs- 
tag on the military estimates, in which he is never tired of discussing the 
minutiae of army reform, and in which in especial he advocates changes 
in military equipment to render the army more e£Q.cient. 




' One who holds the office of delegate acquires a moral right to 
that office, and delegates remain in office unless removed by ex- ^ 
traordinary circumstances or in obedience to rules observed with 
exceptional strictness. An election made for a definite purpose 
becomes a life incumbency. Custom becomes a right. One who 
has for a certain time held the office of delegate ends by re- 
garding that office as his own property. If refused reinstate- 
ment, he threatens reprisals (the threat of resignation being the 
least serious among these) which will tend to sow confusion 
among his comrades, and this confusion will continue until he is 

Resignation of office, in so far as it is not a mere expression 
of discouragement or protest (such as disinclination to accept a . 
candidature in an unpromising constituency), is in most cases 
a means for the retention and fortification of leadership. Even 
in political organizations greater than party, the leaders often 
employ this stratagem, thus disarming their adversaries by a 
deference which does not lack a specious democratic colour. The 
opponent is forced to exhibit in return an even greater defer- 
ence, and this above all when the leader who makes use of the . 
method is really indispensable or is considered indispensable by 
the mass. The recent history of Germany affords numerous 
examples showing the infallibility of this machiavellian device 
for the maintenance of leadership. During the troubled period 
of transition from absolute to constitutional monarchy, during 
the ministry of Ludolf Camphausen, King Frederick William 
IV of Prussia threatened to abdicate whenever liberal ideas were 
tending in Prussian politics to gain the upper hand over the 
romanticist conservatism which was dear to his heart. By this 
threat the liberals were placed in a dilemma. Either they must 



accept the king's abdication, which would involve the accession 
to the throne of Prince William of Prussia, a man of ultra-reac- 
tionary tendencies, whose reign was likely to be initiated by an 
uprising among the lower classes; or else they must abandon 
their liberal schemes, and maintain in power the king now be- 
come indispensable. Thus Frederick William always succeeded 
in getting his own way and in defeating the schemes of his 
political opponents.^ Thirty-five years later Prince Bismarck, 
establishing his strength with the weapon of his indispensability, 
consolidated his omnipotence over the German empire which he 
had recently created, by again and again handing in his resigna- 
tion to the Emperor William I, His aim was to reduce the old 
monarch to obedience, whenever the latter showed any signs of 
exercising an independent will, by suggesting the chaos in in- 
ternal and external policy which would necessarily result from 
the retirement of the ''founder of the empire," since the aged 
emperor was not competent to undertake the personal direction 
of affairs.^ The present president of the Brazilian republic, 
Hermes da Fonseca, owes his position chiefly to a timely threat of 
resignation. Having been appointed Minister of War in 1907, 
Fonseca undertook the reorganization of the Brazilian army. 
He brought forward a bill for the introduction of universal 
compulsory military service, which was fiercely resisted in both 
houses of parliament. Through his energetic personal advocacy, 
sustained by a threat of resignation, the measure was ultimately 
carried, and secured for its promoter such renown, that not only 
did he remain in office, but in the year 1910 was elected Presi- 
dent of the Eepublic by 102,000 votes against 52,000. 

It is the same in all political parties. Whenever an obstacle 
is encountered, the leaders are apt to offer to resign, professing 
that they are weary of office, but really aiming to show to the 
dissentients the indispensability of their own leadership. In 
1864, when Vahlteich proposed a change in the rules of the Gen- 
eral Association of German Workers, Lassalle, the president, was 
very angry, and, conscious of his own value to the movement, 
propounded the following alternative: Either you protect me 

^Kbnig Friedrich Wilhelm IV. Briefwechsel mit Ludolf CampJiausen, 
edited and annotated by Erich Brandenburg, Gebr. Paetel, Berlin, 1906, pp. 
112 et seq. 

' VenkwurdigTceiten des Fursten CModwig su HohenloJie-ScMllingsfurst, 
ed. by Friedrich Curtius, Deutsche Verlagsanstalt, Stuttgart and Leipzig, 
1907, vol. ii. 


from the recurrence of such friction as this, or I throw up 
my office. The immediate result was the expulsion of the impor- 
tunate critic.^ In Holland to-day, Troelstra, the Dutch Lassalle, 
likewise succeeds in disarming his opponents within the party 
by pathetically threatening to retire into private life, saying that 
if they go on subjecting his actions to an inopportune criticism, 
his injured idealism will force him to withdraw from the daily 
struggles of party life.* The same thing has occurred more than 
once in the history of the Italian socialist party. It often hap- 
pens that the socialist members of parliament find themselves 
in disagreement with the majority of the party upon some ques- 
tion of importance, such as that of the opportuneness of a gen- 
eral strike ; or in the party congresses they may wish to record 
their votes in opposition to the views of their respective branches. 
It is easy for them to get their own way and to silence their 
opponents by threatening to resign. If necessary, they go still 
further, and actually resign their seats, appealing to the electors 
as the only authority competent to decide the question in dispute. 
In such cases they are nearly always re-elected, and thus attain 
to an incontestable position of power. At the socialist congress 
held at Bologna in 1904, some of the deputies voted in favour of 
the reformist resolution, in opposition to the wishes of the ma- 
jority of the comrades whose views they were supposed to repre- 
sent. When called to account, they offered to resign their seats, 
and the party electors, wishing to avoid the expense and trouble 
of a new election, and afraid of the loss of party seats, hastened 
to condone the deputies' action. In May, 1906, twenty-four out 
of the twenty-seven members of the socialist group in the Cham- 
ber resigned their seats, in consequence of the difference of views 
between themselves and the rank and file on the subject of the 
general strike, which the deputies had repudiated. All but 
three were re-elected. 

Such actions have a fine democratic air, and yet hardly serve 
to conceal the dictatorial spirit of those who perform them. The 
leader who asks for a vote of confidence is in appearance submit- 
ting to the judgment of his followers, but in reality he throws 
into the scale the entire weight of his own indispensability, real 

^Julius Vahlteich, Ferdinand Lassalle und die Anfdnge der deutschen 
Arbeiterbewegung. Birk, Munich, 1904, p. 74. 

* This occurred at the party congress at Utrecht in 1906. Cf. the account 
given in the "Nieuwe Arnhemsche Courant," vol. vii. No. 4639, and P. J. 
Troelstra^ Inzaken Parti jleiding, Wakker, Eotterdam, 1906, pp. 103-4. 


or supposed, and thus commonly forces submission to his will.® 
The leaders are extremely careful never to admit that the true 
aim of their threat to resign is the reinforcement of their power 
over the rank and file.^ They declare, on the contrary, that their 
conduct is determined by the purest democratic spirit, that it is 
a striking proof of their fineness of feeling, of their sense of 
personal dignity, and of their deference for the mass. Yet if 
we really look into the matter we cannot fail to see that, whether 
they desire it or not, their action is an oligarchical demonstration, 
the manifestation of a tendency to enfranchise themselves from 
the control of the rank and file. Such resignations, even if not 
dictated by a self-seeking policy, but offered solely in order to 
prevent differences of opinion between the leaders and the mass, 
and in order to maintain the necessary harmony of views, always 
have as their practical outcome the subjection of the mass to the 
authority of the leader, 

^ Schweitzer knew this very well when he declared to the general assembly 
of the AUgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein that he would resign his posi- 
tion if he were not allowed to call a congress of the association in order 
to discuss the foundation of trade-unions. His biographer writes very 
justly: "Schweitzer must have felt his position to be extremely strong. 
Otherwise he would never have ventured to deliver such an ultimatum, for 
his defeat on a vote would have made it almost impossible for him to retain 
his office, to which he was greatly attached. He had not, however, overesti- 
mated his influence, and when he was reproached with exercising an im- 
proper pressure on the delegates, this was in itself an indirect recognition 
of his in dispensability. This time, in fact, he got his own way" (Gustav 
Mayer, J. B. von Schweitser und die Sosialdemocratie, Fischer, Jena, 1909, 
p. 223), 

*In the tactical struggles in the Italian party during the year 1904, the 
Florentine reformist socialist. Professor Gaetano Pieraccini, declared that 
he would not withdraw the resignation of his position as a party-leader un- 
less the adherents of the revolutionary tendency were expelled from the 
party ("Avanguardia Socialista," anno ii. No. 76). 



A DISTINGUISHED French dramatist who devoted his leisure to 
writing prose studies of serious social questions, Alexandre Du- 
mas fils, once observed that every human advance was, at its 
outset, opposed by ninety-nine per cent of humanity. "Mais 
c'est sans aucune importance puisque ee centieme auquel nous 
appartenons, depuis le commencement du monde a fait faire aux 
quatre-vingt-dix-neuf autres toutes les reformes dont ils se trou- 
vent tres bien aujourd'hui tout en protestant contre celles qui 
restent a faire." In another passage he adds : "Les majorites 
ne sont que la preuve de ce qui est," whereas "les minorites 
sont souvent le germe de ce qui sera. ' ' ^ 

There is no exaggeration in the assertion that among the citi- 
zens who enjoy political rights the number of those who have 
a lively interest in public affairs is insignificant. In the majority 
of human beings the sense of an intimate relationship between 
the good of the individual and the good of the collectivity is but 
little developed. , Most people are altogether devoid of under- 
standing of the actions and reactions between that organism we 
call the state and their private interests, their prosperity, and 
their life. As de Tocqueville expresses it, they regard it as far 
more important to consider "s'il faut faire passer un chemin 
au bout de leur domaine"^ than to interest themselves in the 
general work of public administration. The majority is content, 
with Stirner, to call out to the state, "Get away from between 
me and the sun!" Stirner makes fun of all those who, in ac- 
cordance vsdth the views of Kant, preach it to humanity as a 
* ' sacred duty ' ' to take an interest in public affairs. ' ' Let those 
persons who have a personal interest in political changes con- 
cern themselves with these. Neither now nor at any future time 
will 'sacred duty' lead people to trouble themselves about the 

^ Alexandre Dumas fils, Les Femmes qui tuent et les Femmes qui votent, 
Caiman Levy, Paris, 1880, pp. 54 and 214. 
' Alexis de Tocqueville, op. eit., vol. i, p. 167. 


state, just as little as it is by 'sacred duty' that they become men 
of science, artists, etc. Egoism alone can spur people to an in- 
terest in public affairs, and will spur them — ^when matters grow 
a good deal worse. ' ' ^ 

In the life of modern democratic parties we may observe signs 
of similar indifference. It is only a minority which participates 
in party decisions, and sometimes that minority is ludicrously 
small. The most important resolutions taken by the most demo- 
cratic of all parties, the socialist party, always emanate from a 
handful of the members. It is true that the renouncement of 
the exercise of democratic rights is voluntary; except in those 
cases, which are common enough, where the active participa- 
tion of the organized mass in party life is prevented by geo- 
graphical or topographical conditions. Speaking generally, it is 
the urban part of the organization which decides everything; 
the duties of the members living in country districts and in re- 
mote provincial towns are greatly restricted ; they are expected 
to pay their subscriptions and to vote during elections in favour 
of the candidates selected by the organization of the great town. 
There is here at work the influence of tactical considerations as 
well as that of local conditions. The preponderance of the towns- 
men over the scattered country members corresponds to the neces- 
sity of promptness in decision and speed in action to which allu- 
sion was made in an earlier chapter. 

Within the large towns there goes on a process of spontaneous 
selection, in virtue of which there is separated from the organ- 
ized mass a certain number of members who participate more 
diligently than the others in the work of the organization. This 
inner group is composed, like that of the pious frequenters of 
the churches, of two very distinct categories: the category of 
those who are animated by a fine sense of duty, and the cate- 
gory of those whose attendance is merely a matter of habit. 
In all countries the number of this inner circle is comparatively 
small.* The majority of the members are as indifferent to the 

* Max Stirner (Kaspar Schmidt), J)er Einsige und sein Eigentum, Eeclam, 
Leipzig, 1892, p. 272. 

*Here is a typical example. The deputy Leonida Bissolati, a leading 
Italian socialist and one of the founders of the party, was on November 5, 
1905 (with other distinguished members), expelled from the party. The 
expulsion was effected at a meeting of the Eoman branch. The full mem- 
bership of this branch was seven hundred, but only one hundred were pres- 
ent at the meeting; of these fifty-five voted for the exclusion and forty-five 
against ("Azione Socialista," i, No. 28). In May 1910, the same branch, 


organization as the majority of the electors are to parliament.' 
Even in countries like France, where collective political educa- 
tion is of older date, the majority renounces all active partici- 
pation in tactical and administrative questions, leaving these to 
the little gi'oup which makes a practice of attending meetings. 
The gi-eat struggles which go on among the leaders on behalf 
of one tactical method or another, struggles in fact for supre- 
macy in the party, but carried out in the name of Llarxism, 
reformism, or syndicalism, are not merely beyond the under- 
standing of the rank and file, but leave them altogether cold. 
In almost all countries it is easy to observe that meetings held 
to discuss questions of the hour, whether political, sensational, 
or sentimental (such as protection, an attack upon the Govern- 
ment, the Kussian revolution, and the like), or those for the 
discussion of matters of general interest (the discovery of the 
North Pole, personal hygiene, spiritualism), attract a far larger 
audience, even when reserved to members of the party, than do 
meetings for the discussion of tactical or theoretical questions, 
although these are of vital importance to the doctrine or to the 
organization. The present writer knows this from personal ex- 
perience in three typical great cities, Paris, Frankfort-on-the- 
Main, and Turin. Notwithstanding differences of atmosphere, 
there was observable in each of these three centres the same in- 
difference to party affairs and the same slackness of attendance 
at ordinary meetings.® The great majority of the members will 
not attend meetings unless some noted orator is to speak, or un- 

then containing about six hundred members, passed a resolution fiercely 
condemning the socialist deputies on account of their being too friendly 
■with the ministry. The resolution was carried by forty-one votes against 
twenty-four ("Stampa," liv. No. 134). 

° In trade-union circles loud complaints are also heard regarding this hu- 
man, all- too-human, tendency. Thus, of the bakers' union we read: "In 
every strike we have the same experience, that in the distribution of leaflets, 
in picketing, in the whole work of agitation which a strike necessitates, it is 
only a few of the members who do their share, while the great mass of the 
strikers, and especially the younger ones, shirk all these duties" (0. AU- 
mann, Die Entwicldung des Verhandes der Backer und Berufsgenossen 
Deutschlands und die LoTinbewegungen und StreiTcs im BacJcergewerbe, Ver- 
lag von O. AUmann, 1900, p. 68). 

^ The same phenomenon is seen in the trade-imion movement. * ' In Ger- 
many the Bourses du Travail numbering 5,000 members think themselves 
happy if they can get together 500 of these at a meeting. The other nine- 
tenths of the organized workers habitually lack all interest in the intimate 
life of their corporation" (Bernhard Schildbach, Verfassungsfragen in den 
GewerJcschaften, "Neue Zeit," xxrs, fasc. 10). 


less some extremely striking war-cry is sounded for their attrac- 
tion, such, as, In France, "A has la vie chere!", or, in Germany, 
"Down with personal government!" A good meeting can also 
be held when there is a cinema-show, or a popular scientific lec- 
ture illustrated by lantern-slides. In a word, the ordinary mem- 
bers have a weakness for everything which appeals to their eyes 
and for such spectacles as will always attract a gaping crowdJ 

It may be added that the regular attendants at public meetings 
iand committees are by no means always proletarians — especially 
where the smaller centres are concerned. When his work is fin- 
ished, the proletarian can think only of rest, and of getting to 
bed in good time. His place at meetings is taken by petty bour- 
geois, by those who come to sell newspapers and picture-post- 
cards, by clerks, by young intellectuals who have not yet got a 
position in their own circle, people who are all glad to hear 
themselves spoken of as authentic proletarians and to be glorified 
as the class of the future.* 

The same thing happens in party life as happens in the state. 
In both, the demand for monetary supplies is upon a coercive 
foundation, but the electoral system has no established sanction. 
An electoral right exists, but no electoral duty. Until this duty 
is superimposed upon the right, it appears probable that a small 
minority only will continue to avail itself of the right which the 
majority voluntarily renounces, and that the minority will al- 
ways dictate laws for the indifferent and apathetic mass. The 
consequence is that, in the political groupings of democracy, 
the participation in party life has an echeloned aspect. The 
extensive base consists of the great mass of electors ; upon this is 
superimposed the enormously smaller mass of enrolled members 
of the local branch of the party, numbering perhaps one-tenth 
or even as few as one-thirtieth of the electors ; above this, again, 
comes the much smaller number of the members who regularly 
attend meetings ; next comes the group of officials of the party ; 
and highest of all, consisting in part of the same individuals as 
the last group, come the half-dozen or so members of the execu- 
tive committee. Effective power is here in inverse ratio to the 
number of those who exercise it. Thus practical democracy is 
represented by the following diagram : — 

^ Cf ,, as far as Italian conditions are concerned, Giulio Casalini, Crisi di 
Impreparasione, ''Critica Socials," 1904, xiv, No. 1. 

*Cf. the vigorous criticism of Filippo Turati, Ancora la Propaganda irrir 
produttiva, "Critica Sociale," 1903, xiii. No. 14. 


Habitues of 

Though it grumbles occasionally, the majority is really de- 
lighted to find persons who will take the trouble to look after its 
affairs. In the mass, and even in the organized mass of the la- 
bour parties, there is an immense need for direction and guid- 
ance. This need is accompanied by a genuine cult for the lead- 
ers, who are regarded as heroes. Misoneism, the rock upon which 
so many serious reforms have at all times been wrecked, is at 
present rather increasing than diminishing. This increase is 
explicable owing to the more extensive division of labour in mod- 
ern civilized society, which renders it more and more impossible 
to embrace in a single glance the totality of the political organi- 
zation of the state and its ever more complicated mechanism. 
To this misoneism are superadded, and more particularly in the 
popular parties, profound differences of culture and education 
among the members. These differences give to the need for lead- 
ership felt by the masses a continually increasing dynamic ten- 

This tendency is manifest in the political parties of all coun- 
tries. It is true that its intensity varies as between one nation 
and another, in accordance with contingencies of a historical 
character or with the influences of racial psychology. The Ger- 
man people in especial exhibits to an extreme degree the need 
for some one to point out the way and to issue orders. This 
peculiarity, common to all classes not excepting the proletariat, 
furnishes a psychological soil upon which a powerful directive 
hegemony can flourish luxuriantly. There exist among the Ger- 
mans all the preconditions necessary for such a development : a 
psychical predisposition to subordination, a profound instinct 
for discipline, in a word, the whole still-persistent inheritance 
of the influence of the Prussian drill-sergeant, with all its advan- 
tages and all its disadvantages ; in addition, a trust in authority 
which verges on the complete absence of a critical faculty.^" It 

„_ — ■ ■■ 

» This figure must not be regarded as intended to represent such relation- 
ships according to scale, for this would require an entire page. It is purely 

" Native and foreign writers alike have referred to the influence of these 


is only the Ehinelanders, possessed of a somewhat more con- 
spicuous individuality, who constitute, to a certain extent, an ex- 
ception to this generalization.^^ The risks to the democratic 
spirit that are involved by this peculiarity of the German char- 
characteristics of German racial psychology upon the development of the Ger- 
man socialist party, Karl Diehl goes so far as to ascribe to them the origin 
and importance of the German labour party. He writes : * ' If we find that 
in Germany a socialist party has come into existence gi-eater than that found 
anywhere else in the world, this is dependent upon the whole historical evo- 
lution of the labour movement. ... A certain political immaturity, and 
the ease with which the Germans are disciplined and subordinated, were 
the factors which enabled socialism to gain in this country so extraordinary 
a number of adherents" (Karl Diehl, Ueher Sozialismus, Kommunismus und 
Anarchismus, Fischer, Jena, 1906, p. 226). Another writer well acquainted 
with the German labour movement, rightly points out the contradiction be- 
tween the official doctrine of historic materialism and the actual overvalua- 
tion of great men in the movement : ' * However earnestly German socialism 
has desired, however fundamentally its philosophy of history has laboured, 
to undermine the influence of great personalities, the members of the social- 
ist party have in practice paid little attention to such theories. From 
1860 down to our own day, the masses have always sworn by their masters. 
If it has been made a just reproach to the German people that there exists 
among us an excessive belief in authority, to the labour movement, even in 
its international dress, there must attach considerable responsibility for 
this error" (Gustav Mayer, Die Losung der deutschen Frage im Jahre 1866 
und die Arheiterbewegung, 'Testgaben fiir Wilhelm Lexis," Fischer, Jena, 
1906, p. 227). A Portuguese socialist describes with great acuteness the 
authoritarian leanings of the German. party : "In Germany, the militarist 
tendencies which may be observed in the other camps are, with greater or 
less intensity, reflected in the socialist party. This is especially noticeable 
in the congresses, where, at a simple sign given by the deputy Singer, all 
the delegates approve or disapprove in accordance with the instructions they 
have received. The same military discipline extends to the parties and to 
the political groupings. And woe to him who transgresses- these rules : he 
runs the risk of being expelled without chance of appeal" (Magalhaes Lima, 
O primeiro de Maio, Typ. de la Companhia Nacional Editora, Lisbon, 1894, 
p. 40). 

^ In the Ehenish districts, the active and vivacious character of the popu- 
lation is, according to many trade-union leaders, a matter of considerable 
significance : * ' More inclined to form societies for recreation than for seri- 
ous undertakings, the Ehenish workers are difficult to organize. Those who 
have been induced to join a union can be retained in that body only when 
led by some one whose personality is sympathetic to them, and who under- 
stands on suitable occasions to flavour seriousness with humour. If the 
central organization of the trade-union brings about a change in the local 
leadership without paying due attention to this consideration, the anti-au- 
thoritarian tendency of the Ehinelanders comes into play, and the mem- 
bership falls off greatly ' ' (Walter Troeltsch and P. Hirsehf eld, Die deutsclien 
'SosialdemoJcratischen GewerTcschaften. Vntersuchungen u. Materialen uber 
ihre geographische Verireitung, Carl Heymanns Verlag, Berlin, 1905, p. 71). 


acter were well known to Karl Marx. Although himself a party- 
leader in the fullest sense of the term, and although endowed to 
the highest degree with the qualities necessary for leadership, he 
thought it necessary to warn the German workers against en- 
tertaining too rigid a conception of organization. In a letter 
from Marx to Schweitzer we are told that in Germany, where the 
workers are bureaucratically controlled from birth upwards, 
and for this reason have a blind faith in constituted authority, 
it is above all necessary to teach them to walk by themselves.^- 
The indifference which in normal times the mass is accustomed 
to display in ordinary political life becomes, in certain cases of 
particular importance, an obstacle to the extension of the party 
influence. The crowd may abandon the leaders at the very mo- 
ment when these are preparing for energetic action. This hap- 
pens even in connection with the organization of demonstrations 
of protest. At the Austrian socialist congress held at Salzburg 
in 1904, Dr. Ellenbogen complained: "I am always anxious 
when the party leaders undertake any kind of action. It seems 
simply impossible to arouse the interest of the workers even in 
matters which one would have expected them to understand. 
In the agitation against the new military schemes, we found it 
impossible to organize meetings of a respectable size. " ^^ In 
Saxony, in 1895, when it was proposed to restrict the suffrage, 
the socialist leaders vainly endeavoured to arouse a general 
agitation, their attempts being rendered nugatory by the gen- 
eral apathy of the masses. The language of the press was in- 
flammatory. Millions of leaflets were distributed. Within the 
space of a few days a hundred and fifty meetings of protest were 
held. All was without effect. There was no genuine agitation. 
The meetings, especially in the outlying districts, were very 
scantily attended.^* The leaders, alike the Central Committee 
and the district organizers, were overwhelmed with disgust at 
the calm indifference of the mass, which rendered serious agita- 
tion altogether impossible.^^ The failure of the movement was 

" Letter from Karl Marx to J. B. von Schweitzer, dated London, October 
13, 1868, published, with comments, by Ed. Bernstein of ' ' Neue Zeit, ' ' sv, 
1897, p. 9. Bernstein himself appears to share the views of Marx. (Cf. Ed. 
Bernstein, GeiverlcschaftsdemoTcratie, "Sozial. Monatshef te, " 1909, p. 83.) 

^Protokoll der Verhandlungeyt,, etc., J. Brand, Vienna, 1904, p. 90. 

" Edmund Fischer, Der Widerstand des deutschen Volkes gegen WaMen- 
trechtungen, *'Sozial. Monatshef te, " viii (x), fasc. 10. 

^Edmund Fischer, Die Sdchsische Prole, "Sozial. Monatshef te," viii 
(x), fasc. 12. 


due to an error of omission on the part of the leaders. The 
rank and file did not recognize the importance of the loss they 
were to suffer because the leaders had neglected to point out 
all its consequences. Accustomed to being ruled, the rank and 
file need a considerable work of preparation before they can be 
set in motion. In default of this, and when signals which the 
rank and file do not understand are unexpectedly made by the 
leaders, they pay no attention. 

The most striking proof of the organic weakness of the mass 
is furnished by the way in which, when deprived of their leaders 
in time of action, they abandon the field of battle in disordered 
flight ; they seem to have no power of instinctive reorganization, 
and are useless until new captains arise capable of replacing 
those that have been lost. The failure of innumerable strikes 
and political agitations is explained very simply by the oppor- 
tune action of the authorities, who have placed the leaders under 
lock and key.^^ It is this experience which has given rise to the 
view that popular movements are, generally speaking, artificial 
products, the work of isolated individuals termed agitators 
(Aufwiegler, Hetzer, Meneurs, Sobillatori), and that it suffices 
to suppress the agitators to get the upper hand of the agitation. 
This opinion is especially favoured by certain narrow-minded 
conservatives. But such an idea shows only the incapacity of 
those who profess to understand the intimate nature of the mass. 

^^ The most conspicuous example of this is furnished by an episode in the 
history of the Danish labour movement. The condemnation and subsequent 
exile in America of the socialist leader, Louis Pio, in the seventies, sufficed 
to check for years the growth of the labour movement, then in its infancy 
(Eud. Meyer, Der Sosialismus in DdnemarJc, Aug. Schindler, Berlin, 1875, 
pp. 13 et seq.). Gustav Bang describes the collapse of the movement in the 
following terms: "He [Pio] had become fatigued, and was too weak to 
continue the struggle. In the spring of 1877 he allowed himself to be bribed 
by the police, who induced him to leave the country for ever ; with him went 
Geleff, who had also been bribed. Pio died in America in 1894. This was 
disastrous for the party. It had trusted Pio too blindly, believed in him 
too earnestly, to be able to stand on its own feet. . . . There were no 
new men to fill the empty place, and the party was too loosely constructed, 
too weakly combined, to be able to hold together. The unions dissolved 
or faded out of existence" (G. Bang, Ein BUck auf die GescJiicMe der 
ddnischen Sozialdemocratie, "Neue Zeit," December 25, 1897, x\d, vol. i. 
No. 13, pp. 404-5). Another notable example, and a more recent one, be- 
longs to the history of the labour movement in France, where in 1909 the 
attempt at a general strike of railway men failed because Briand, the 
Prime Minister, had suddenly imprisoned some of the most influential lead- 
ers of the railway workers. 


In collective movements, with rare exceptions, the process is nat- 
ural and not "artificial." Natural above all is the movement 
itself, at whose head the leader takes his place, not as a rule of 
his own initiative, but by force of circumstances. No less natural 
is the sudden collapse of the agitation as soon as the army is de- 
prived of its chiefs. 

The need which the mass feels for guidance, and its incapacity 
for acting in default of an initiative from without and from 
above, impose, however, heavy burdens upon the chiefs. The 
leaders of modern democratic parties do not lead an idle life. 
Their positions are anything but sinecures, and they have ac- 
quired their supremacy at the cost of extremely hard work. 
Their life is one of incessant effort. The tenacious, persistent, 
and indefatigable agitation characteristic of the socialist party, 
particularly in Germany, never relaxed in consequence of casual 
failures, nor ever abandoned because of casual successes, and 
which no other party has yet succeeded in imitating, has justly 
aroused the admiration even of critics and of bourgeois oppo- 
nents.^^ In democratic organizations the activity of the profes- 
sional leader is extremely fatiguing, often destructive to health, 
and in general (despite the division of labour) highly complex.^^ 

"In a controversial article directed against a Catholic periodical of con- 
servative tendencies, the "Germania" of Berlin, another Catholic paper, 
the " Westdeutsche Arbeiterzeitung, " the organ of the Catholic workers of 
the Ehineland, publishes the following appreciation of its socialist oppo- 
nents: "We could wish that our own party would take example by the 
sentiment of sacrifice for the party welfare with which the socialist workers 
are animated, "We cannot venture to assert, as does the ' Germania, ' that in 
the socialist party there is a larger number of arrivists than in any other, 
for we must confess that we lack materials to prove such a proposition. It 
is indeed our own impression, based upon considerable experience, that the 
socialist workers demand from their paid employees a notable amount of 
intellectual labour and of propagandist activity. In fact, the leaders com- 
monly fulfil the desires of the mass" (quoted from the "Frankfurter 
Volksstimme, " 1910, No. 248, 5th supplement). In the same vein writes 
the Catholic priest Engelbert Kaeser, Ber Sosialdemokrat hat's Wort!, 
Herder, Freiburg i. B., 1905, 3rd ed., p. 201. 

^ The capitalist press is in the habit of describing socialist leaders as de- 
bauchees and parasites who batten upon the funds extracted from the toilers. 
The first part of the accusation is absurd. The second is, of course, sub- 
stantially true, but does not, to the sociologist, involve condemnation on 
that account. Certainly the leaders live at the cost of the workers, but with 
the full knowledge of these, and, in so far as the workers are organized, by 
their deliberate will. The leaders are selected and paid to render in return 
inestimable service. Another reflection may be made in passing. The fact 
that the workers are able permanently to maintain out of their savings so 


He has continually to sacrifice his own vitality in the struggle, 
and when for reasons of health he ought to slacken his activities, 
he is not free to do so. The claims made upon him never wane. 
The crowd has an incurable passion for distinguished orators, 
for men of a great name, and if these are not obtainable, they 
insist at least upon an M.P. At anniversaries and other celebra- 
tions of which the democratic masses are so fond, and always 
during electoral meetings^ demands pour in to the central organi- 
zation, and close always on the same note, "we must have an 
M.P. ! " ^^ In addition, the leaders have to undertake all kinds 
of literary work, and should they happen to be barristers, they 
must give their time to the numerous legal proceedings which 
are of importance to the party. As for the leaders of the highest 
grade, they are simply stifled under the honorary positions which 
are showered upon them. Accumulation of functions is, in 
fact, one of the characteristics of modern democratic parties. 
In the German socialist party we not infrequently find that the 
same individual is a town-councillor, a member of the diet, and 
a member of the Reichstag, or that, in addition to two of these 
functions, he is editor of a newspaper, secretary of a trade 
union, or secretary of a co-operative society ; ^° the same thing 
is true of Belgium, of Holland,-^ and of Italy. All this brings 

enormous a party-apparatus as that of the German social democracy, con- 
tradicts the Theory of Increasing Misery, and contradicts even more plainly 
Lassalle's theory (now, indeed, almost universally abandoned) of the Iron 
Law of Wages. (Cf. the present writer's address to the third Italian Con- 
gress of the Sciences held at Padua in 1909, Dilucidasioni sulla teoria dell' 
immiserimento, "Giornale degli Economisti," xxxix, series 2, 1909.) 

^^ In Italy, requests for an M.P. are often sent to the head office when the 
matter in question is no more than the proclamation of a strike. One of the 
country branches once asked for the exclusive services of a socialist deputy 
for an entire fortnight. He was to study the local working conditions of 
the agricultural labourers, to discover possibilities of improvement, to draft 
a memorial to the local landowners, and so on (Varazzani and Costa, Eela- 
sione delta Diresione del Partito al Congresso d'Imola, September 1902, Co- 
operativa Tip.-editrice, Imola, 1902, p. 7). 

^^ Oehme, referring to the labour movement in Bremen, writes : ' ' My posi- 
tion was certainly not one to be envied, for I was publisher, editor, distribu- 
tor, advertising agent, and cashier, not to mention maid-of-all-work. 
Throughout the year I had not a single Sunday free, for I spent all my 
Sundays running up and down stairs in order to collect the monthly sub- 
scriptions to the paper, a task not accomplished without difficulty." This 
refers to an earlier date when the anti-socialist laws were still in force, and 
when the division of labour in the movement had not attained its present 
degree ("Bremer Burger-Zeitung, " September 23, 1904, xv, No. 225). 

*^In Holland, Willem Hubertus Vliegeu was at one and the same time 


honour to the leader, gives him power over the mass, makes him 
more and more indispensable; but it also involves continuous 
overwork; for those who are not of exceptionally strong consti- 
tution it is apt to involve a premature death.^^ 

socialist deputy, editor in chief of the central organ of the party ("Het 
Volk"), county councillor of N. Holland, municipal councillor of Amster- 
dam, president of the party executive, and chairman in ordinary in all the 
congresses — sis functions in all (Leeuwenburg, "Nieuwe Arnhemsche Cou- 
rant," No. 4659). 

^ It is remarkable how large a percentage of socialist agitators and or- 
ganizers have succumbed to mental disorder. Carlo Cafiero, Jean Volders, 
Bruno Schonlank, Georg Jaeckh, died in asylums. Lassalle was on the verge 
of physical and mental collapse when he determined to devote his life to 
Helene von Donniges. This predisposition to insanity is a result of the over- 
work which the party life imposes upoa its leaders. 



In addition to the political indifference of the masses and to 
their need for guidance, there is another factor, and one of a 
loftier moral quality, which contributes to the supremacy of the 
leaders, and this is the gratitude felt by the crowd for those 
who speak and write on their behalf. The leaders acquire fame 
as defenders and advisers of the people; and while the mass, 
economically indispensable, goes quietly about its daily work, the 
leaders, for love of the cause, must often suffer persecution, im- 
prisonment, and exile.^ 

These men, who have often acquired, as it were, an aureole of 
sanctity and martyrdom, ask one reward only for their services, 
gratitude.^ Sometimes this demand for gratitude finds written 

^"It is the privilege of the leaders to march in the van, and to be the 
first to receive the blows directed against the party by our adversaries" 
(Auguste Bebel, Ein NacJiwort but Viseprasidentenfrage und Verwandtem, 
reprint from "Neue Zeit," 1903, p. 21). Naturally this applies chiefly to 
times of comparative political calm. 

^ The appeal to gratitude is an effective means of domination, an ad- 
mirable platform upon which to base further claims. The poet aptly puts 
in the mouth of a spokesman of the masses the following words, directed 
against a victorious leader who is vaunting his own merits: "Neither the 
money in our money-boxes, nor the words in our mouths, nor the wine in 
our cellars, nor the wives in our beds, will be safe from him. He will always 
be telling us, *I delivered you from the Genoese, I am the victor of Alis- 
campo' " (Eudolph Lothar, Konig EarleMn, G-. H. Meyer, Leipzig-Berlin, 
1900, p. 39). — The part which gratitude has played in the political life of 
great national organizations still lacks adequate recognition. The omnipo- 
tence of Bismarck, the founder of the modern German Empire, an omnipo- 
tence which endured for nearly thirty years, was largely based upon this 
sentiment. Max Nordau writes with perfect justice: ** Unprincipled ad- 
vantage is taken of the most touching and amiable characteristic of our 
nation, its gratitude" (Max Nordau, Die Kranlcheit des Jahrhunderts, B. 
Elischer, Leipzig, 1888, p. 247). — In Italy, many patriots who had rendered 
great services in the struggles on behalf of United Italy were, after the con- 
stitution of the kingdom, elected deputies, and were subsequently re-elected 
again and again, simply out of gratitude for their ancient services. (Cf. 
Pasquale Turiello, Governo e Governati in Italia, Fatti, N. Zanichelli, Bo- 
logna, 1889, 2nd revised edition, p, 325.) 



expression.^ Among the masses themselves this sentiment of 
gratitude is extremely strong.* If from time to time we encoun- 
ter exceptions to this rule, if the masses display the blackest 
ingratitude towards their chosen leaders, we may be certain 
that there is on such occasions a drama of jealousy being played 
beneath the surface. There is a demagogic struggle, fierce, 
masked, and obstinate, between one leader and another, and the 
mass has to intervene in this struggle, and to decide between the 
adversaries. But in favouring one competitor, it necessarily dis- 
plays ''ingratitude" towards the other. Putting aside these ex- 
ceptional cases, the mass is sincerely grateful to its leaders, re- 
garding gratitude as a sacred duty.^ As a rule, this sentiment 
of gratitude is displayed in the continual re-election of the 

^ Cf . a catechism for the use of the Belgian workers (Alphonse Octors, 
De Catechismus van den WerTcman, Volisdrukkerij, Ghent, 1905, p. 6), in 
which we read, in reply to the question, "Has there not been considerable 
change for the better of late?" the answer, "Yes, thanks to the unwearying 
propaganda of De Paepe, Jean Volders, G. Defnet, Leon and Alfred De 
Fuisseaux, Vandervelde, Anseele, and many others, the workers have secured 
the legal recognition of their civil equality." 

* The leaders often maintain that the democratic masses are ungrateful, 
but this is far from being true. Eoseher writes of democracy in the life 
of the state, that whereas the ingratitude of the monarchy and of the aris- 
tocracy is conscious and deliberate, when the democracy is ungrateful, this 
usually arises from an involuntary forgetfulness, dependent upon the fre- 
quent party changes characteristic of democratic government, and is alto- 
gether uncalculating and devoid of personal intention (Eoseher, op. cit., p. 
396). In the internal life of the democratic party, since here "party 
changes" are much rarer than in the national life of democracy, there 
is far less likelihood of the display of ingratitude. 

* The German socialist party showed a fine spirit of gratitude towards the 
elder Liebknecht, appointing him, when his intellectual powers were already 
beginning to fail, to the editorship of ' ' Vorwarts, ' ' and voting him, though 
not without opposition, a salary of £360 (ProtoTcoll des sozialdemoTiratischen 
Farteitags zu Franl-furt, 1894, p. 33). When Liebknecht died and his 
family was left badly off, the party provided funds for the continuance of 
his sons' education. 

Eduard Bernstein considers that it was simply on account of a sense of 
gratitude that Max Sehippel, the deputy, was not expelled from the party 
at the Bremen Congress of 1904. "A fijie human sentiment, whose work- 
ing has been seen in earlier congresses, was here once more manifest. I 
refer to the obvious disinclination to pass a political death-sentence upon 
one who has done important services for the party. . . . These are cer- 
tainly among the choicest feelings of which the human heart is capable: 
respect for merit, and antipathy to the idea of brutal expulsion" (Eduard 
Bernstein, Was Bremen gebracht hat, "Neue Montagsblatt, " i, No. 22, 
September 26, 1904. 


leaders who have deserved well of the party, so that leadership 
commonly becomes perpetual. It is the general feeling of the 
mass that it would be ''ungrateful" if they failed to confirm in 
his functions every leader of long service.^ 

®It is to this sentiment that Bernstein refers the indignation which was 
displayed at the Dresden Congress (1903) by the majority of the dele- 
gates, when it was reported that a number of the more revolutionary ele- 
ments had decided to vote against the re-election of the reformist Ignatz 
Auer as a member of the Executive Committee. The general feeling in 
the party was that of eternal gratitude towards Auer because he had been 
one of the founders of the party, and because to the rank and file he seemed 
the personification of a most interesting period in the history of the social 
democracy (Eduard Bernstein, Die BemoTcratie in der Sozialdemolcratie, 
"Sozial. Monatsh.," September 3, 1908, p. 1109). In the opinion of the 
present writer, the case of Auer manifests also, gratitude apart, the gen- 
eral disinclinatiou of the masses to change their leaders. (Cf. Part II, 
Chap. I.) 



The socialist parties often identify themselves with their leaders 
to the extent of adopting the leaders' names. Thus, in Ger- 
many from 1863 to 1875 there were Lassallists and Marxists; 
whilst in France until quite recently there were Broussists, Al- 
lemanists, Guesdists, and Jauresists.^ The fact that these per- 
sonal descriptive terms tend to pass out of use in such coun- 
tries as Germany may be attributed to two distinct causes : in the 
first place, there has been an enormous increase in the member- 
ship and especially in the voting strength of the party; and 
secondly, within the party, dictatorship has given place to oli- 
garchy, and the leaders of this oligarchy are inspired by senti- 
ments of mutual jealousy. As a supplementary cause may be 
mentioned the general lack of leaders of conspicuous ability, 
capable of securing and maintaining an absolute and indisputa- 
ble authority.^ 

The English anthropo-sociologist Frazer contends that the 
maintenance of the order and authority of the state is to a large 
extent dependent upon the superstitious ideas of the masses, 
this being, in his view, a bad means used to a good end. Among 
such superstitious notions, Frazer draws attention to the belief 
so frequent among the people that their leaders belong to a 

^In tMs we see the analogy of party with religious sects and monastic 
orders. Yves Guyot rightly points out that the members of the modern 
party imitate the practice of the medieval monks, who, while faithfully fol- 
lowing the teachings of their respective masters, called themselves after 
St. Dominic, St. Benedict, St. Augustine, and St. Francis (Yves Guyot, La 
Comedie socialMe, Bibl. Charpentier, Paris, 1897, p. 111). 

^ According to Sombart, there has occurred in the German socialist party, 
concurrently with its numerical increase, a decline in quality. He writes: 
"The socialist democracy found it necessary to reduce to impotence the 
men of real talent, and to replace them by vigorous routinists. What could 
Marx do to-day as editor of the 'Neue Zeit' or even of the ' Sozialistische 
Monatshefte'; what could LassaUe do in the Eeichstag?" (Werner Som- 
bart, Die Deutsche Volkswirtschaft im 19 Jalirhundert, Bondi, Berlin, 1903, 
p. 528.) 



higher order of humanity than themselves.^ The phenomenon 
is, in fact, conspicuous in the history of the socialist parties 
during the last fifty years. The supremacy of the leaders over 
the mass depends, not solely upon the factors already discussed, 
hut also upon the widespread superstitious reverence paid to the 
leaders on account of their superiority in formal culture — for 
which a much greater respect is commonly felt than for true 
intellectual worth. 

The adoration of the led for the leaders is commonly latent. 
It reveals itself by signs that are barely perceptible, such as 
the tone of veneration in which the idol's name is pronounced, 
the perfect docility with which the least of his signs is obeyed, 
and the indignation which is aroused by any critical attack upon 
his personality. But where the individuality of the leader is 
truly exceptional, and also in periods of lively excitement, the 
latent fervour is conspicuously manifested with the violence of 
an acute paroxysm. In June 1864, the hot-blooded Ehinelanders 
received Lassalle like a god. Garlands were hung across the 
streets. Maids of honour showered flowers over him. Intermina- 
ble lines of carriages followed the chariot of the "president." 
With overflowing and irresistible enthusiasm and with frenzied 
applause were received the words of the hero of the triumph, 
often extravagant and in the vein of the charlatan, for he spoke 
rather as if he wished to defy criticism than to provoke applause. 
It was in truth a triumphal march. Nothing was lacking — ^tri- 
umphal arches, hymns of welcome, solemn receptions of foreign 
deputations.* Lassalle was ambitious in the grand style, and, 
as Bismarck said of him at a later date, his thoughts did not 
go far short of asking whether the future German Empire, in 
which he was greatly interested, ought to be ruled by a dynasty 
of HohenzoUerns or of Lassalles.^ We need feel no surprise that 
all this adulation excited Lassalle 's imagination to such a degree 
that he soon afterwards felt able to promise his affianced that 
he would one day enter the capital as president of the German 
republic, seated in a chariot drawn by six white horses.^ 

* J. G. Frazer, Psyche's TasTc, Macmillan, London, 1909, p. 56. 

*See the accounts in the contemporary papers, which appear as preface 
to the speech delivered by Lassalle at Eonsdorf, May 22, 1864, in Ferdinand 
Lassalles GesamtwerTcen, edited by Erich Blum, Pfau, Leipzig, vol. ii, p. 301. 

^Bismarck, in the Eeichstag, September 17, 1878 (Furst Bismarck's Be- 
den, edited by Philippe Stein, Eeclam, Leipzig, vol. vii, p. 85). 

*J. Vahlteich, op. cit, p. 58. 


In Sicily, in 1892, when the first agricultural labourers' 
unions, known as fasci, were constituted, the members had an 
almost supernatural faith in their leaders. In an ingenuous con- 
fusion of the social question with their religious practices, they 
often in their processions carried the crucifix side by side with 
the red flag and with placards inscribed with sentences from the 
works of Marx. The leaders were escorted on their way to the 
meetings with music, torches, and Japanese lanterns. Many, 
drunk with the sentiment of adoration, prostrated themselves be- 
fore their leaders, as in former days they had prostrated them- 
selves before their bishops.^ A bourgeois journalist once asked 
an old peasant, member of a socialist fascio, if the proletarians 
did not think that Giuseppe De Felice Giuffrida, Garibaldi 
Bosco, and the other young students or lawyers who, though of 
bourgeois origin, were working on behalf of the fasci, were not 
really doing this with the sole aim of securing their own election 
as county councillors and deputies. "De Felice and Bosco are 
angels come down from heaven!" was the peasant's brief and 
eloquent reply.^ 

It may be admitted that not all the workers would have re- 
plied to such a question in this way, for the Sicilian populace 
has always had a peculiar tendency to hero-worship. But 
throughout southern Italy, and to some extent in central Italy, 
the leaders are even to-day revered by the masses with rites of a 
semi-religious character. In Calabria, Enrico Ferri was for some 
time adored as a tutelary saint against governmental corruption. 
In Rome also, where the tradition of the classic forms of pa- 
ganism still survives, Ferri was hailed in a public hall, in the 
name of all the ''proletarian quirites," as "the greatest among 
the great. ' ' The occasion for this demonstration was that Ferri 
had broken a window as a sign of protest against a censure ut- 
tered by the President of the Chamber (1901).'' In Holland, 
in the year 1886, when Domela Nieuwenhuis was liberated from 
prison, he received from the people, as he himself records, 

^Adolfo Eossi, Die Bewegung in Sicilien, Dietz, Stuttgart, 1S94, pp. 8 
and 35. 

* Eossi, op. cit., p. 34. Even to-day, De Felice is venerated as a demigod, 
especially in Catagna, where, as Syndic, he has carried on an extensive and 
many-sided activity in the field of municipal socialism. (Cf. Gisella Michels- 
Lindner, GeschicMe der modernen Gemeindebetriebe in Italien, Dunke u. 
Humblot, Leipzig, 1909, pp. 77 et seq.) 

•Enrico Ferri, La Questione meridionale, ''Asino," Eome, 1902, p. 4. 


greater honours than had ever been paid to any sovereign, and 
the halls in which he addressed meetings were profusely adorned 
with flowers.^" Such an attitude on the part of the mass is not 
peculiar to backward countries or remote periods; it is an ata- 
vistic survival of primitive psychology. A proof of this is 
afforded by the idolatrous worship paid to-day in the depart- 
ment of the Nord (the most advanced industrial region in 
France) to the Marxist prophet, Jules Guesde. Moreover, in 
certain parts of England, we find that the working classes give 
their leaders a reception which recalls the days of Lassalle.^^ 

The adoration of the chiefs survives their death. The great- 
est among them are canonized. After the death of Lassalle, 
the AUgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein, of which he had been 
absolute monarch, broke up into two sections, the ''fraction of 
the Countess Hatzfeld" or "female line," as the Marxist ad- 
versaries sarcastically styled it, and the "male line" led by J. 
B. von Schweitzer. While quarrelling fiercely with one another, 
these two groups were at one, not only in respect of the honour 
they paid to Lassalle 's memory, but also in their faithful ob- 
servance of every letter of his programme. Nor has Karl Marx 
escaped this sort of socialist canonization, and the fanatical zeal 
with which some of his followers defend him to this day strongly 
recalls the hero-worship paid to Lassalle.^^ Just as Christians 
used to give and still give to their infants the names of the 
founders of their religion, St. Peter and St. Paul, so socialist 
parents in certain parts of central Italy call their boys Lassallo 
and their girls Marxina, as an emblem of the new faith. More- 
over, the zealots often have to pay heavily for their devotion, in 
quarrels with angry relatives and with recalcitrant registration- 
officials, and sometimes even in the form of serious material in- 
jury, such as loss of employment. Whilst this practice is at 
times no more than a manifestation of that intellectual snobbery 
from which even the working-class environment is not wholly 
free, it is often the outward sign of a profound and sincere ideal- 

^" Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis, Van Christen tot Anarchist, GedenTc- 
schriften, Van Holkema en Warandorp, Amsterdam, 1911, p. 198. Cf. also 
P. J. Troelstra, ''De Wording der S.D.A.P.," Na tien jaar (1894-1904) 
GedenTischriften, Soep, Amsterdam, 1904, p. 97. 

^^Cf. a report by H, M. Hyndman of his visit to Burnley, "Justice," 
1910, xxviii, No. 1355. 

^An analogous spirit is manifested by the phrase long current among 
the militant Italian democracy, *'He spoke evil of Garibaldi," signifying 
"He committed the most horrible of crimes." 


ism.13 Whatever its cause, it proves the adoration felt by the 
masses for the leaders, an adoration transcending the limits of 
a simple sense of obligation for services rendered. Sometimes 
this sentiment of hero-worship is turned to practical account by 
speculative tradesmen, so that we see in the newspapers (espe- 
cially in America, Italy, and the southern Slav lands) adver- 
tisements of "Karl Marx liqueurs" and "Karl Marx buttons"; 
and such articles are offered for sale at public meetings.^* A 
clear light is thrown upon the childish character of proletarian 
psychologj^ by the fact that these speculative activities often 
prove extremely lucrative. 

The masses experience a profound need to prostrate them- 
selves, not simply before great ideals, but also before the in- 
dividuals who in their eyes incorporate such ideals. Their ado- 
ration for these temporal divinities is the more blind in propor- 
tion as their lives are rude. There is considerable truth in the 
paradoxical phrase of Bernard Shaw, who defines democracy as 
a collection of idolators, in contradistinction to aristocracy, 
which is a collection of idols.^^ This need to pay adoring wor- 
ship is often the sole permanent element which survives all the 
changes in the ideas of the masses. The industrial workers of 
Saxony have during recent years passed from fervent Protestant- 
ism to socialism. It is possible that in the case of some of 
them this evolution has been accompanied by a complete reversal 
of all their former intellectual and moral valuations; but it is 
certain that if from their domestic shrines they have expelled the 
traditional image of Luther, it has only been in order to replace 
it by one of Bebel. In Emilia, where the peasantry has under- 
gone a similar evolution, the oleograph of the Blessed Virgin 
has simply given place to one of Prampolini ; and in southern 
Italy, faith in the annual miracle of the liquefaction of the blood 
of St. Januarius has yielded before a faith in the miracle of the 
superhuman power of Enrico Ferri, "the Scourge of the Ca- 
morra." Amid the ruins of the old moral world of the masses, 
there remains intact the triumphal column of religious need. 
They often behave towards their leaders after the manner of the 
sculptor of ancient Greece who, having modelled a Jupiter To- 

^'Cf. the articles by Savino Varazzani, Una famiglia socialista, and Beo 
di leso-SociaUsmo, "Avanti della Domenica," ii, Nos. 67 and 68. 

^*Kobert Michels, Storia del Marxismo in Italia, Mongini, Eoine, 1910, pp. 
148 et seq. 

"Bernard Shaw, The Sevolutionist's EandbooTc. 


nans, prostrated himself in adoration before the work of his own 

In the object of such adoration, megalomania is apt to ensue.^ 
The immeasurable presumption, which is not without its comic 
side, sometimes found in modern popular leaders, is not depend- 
ent solely on their being self-made men, but also upon the atmos- 
phere of adulation in which they live and breathe. This over- 
weening self-esteem on the part of the leaders diffuses a power- 
ful suggestive influence, whereby the masses are confirmed in 
their admiration for their leaders, and it thus proves a source 
of enhanced power. 

^^ George Sand writes: "J'ai travaille toute ma vie a etre modeste. Je 
declare que je ne voudrais pas vivre quinze jours entouree de quinze per- 
sonnes persuadees que je ne peux pas me tromper. J'arriverais peut-etre a 
me le persuader a moi-meme" (George Sand, Journal d'un voyageur pen- 
dant la guerre, M. Levy Freres, Paris, 1871, pp. 216-17). 



In the opening days of the labour movement, the foundation 
of leadership consisted mainly, if not exclusively, in oratorical 
skill. It is impossible for the crowd to escape the aesthetic and 
emotional influence of words. The fineness of the oratory ex- 
ercises a suggestive influence whereby the crowd is completely 
subordinated to the will of the orator.^ Now the essential char- 
acteristic of democracy is found in the readiness with which it 
succumbs to the magic of words, written as well as spoken. In 
a democratic regime, the born leaders are orators and journal- 
ists. It suffices to mention Gambetta and Clemenceau in France ; 
Gladstone and Lloyd George in England ; Crispi and Luzzatti in 
Italy. In states under democratic rule it is a general belief that 
oratorical power is the only thing which renders a man com- 
petent for the direction of public affairs. The same maxim 
applies even more definitely to the control of the great demo- 
cratic parties. The influence of the spoken word has been ob- 
vious above all in the country in which a democratic regime 
first came into existence. This was pointed out in 1826 by an 
acute Italian observer: ''The English people, so prudent in 
the use of its time, experiences, in listening to a public speaker, 

* The suggestive force of tlie oratory of the cultured leader is described 
in the following terms by one who was himself a master in its exercise: 
"In a political orator the principal matter is neither his command of the 
subject nor the mode in which he presents it; his power is established 
from the moment when he begins, no longer to speak, but rather to be 
carried forward upon a thousand glances, friendly it may be or hostile, 
but always vibrant with a metallic sheen, and launched by a thousand pal- 
pitating hearts. There is always in the orator's mind, even in that of 
the greatest, a sense of extreme tension . . . until at last the moment 
comes when one's blood suddenly warms up, and one sails on a cloud, or 
soars liie a lark, higher, always higher. . . . The orator on the platform 
reacts to the gaze of the audience. He sees the red hearts of the crowd 
palpitating towards him, their thoughts concentrating towards him like 
a thousand threads uniting in one" (Adolf Koster, Die zehn Schornsieine, 
Langen, Munich, 1909, p. 113). 



the same pleasure which it enjoys at the theatre when the works 
of the most celebrated dramatists are being played. " ^ A quar- 
ter of a century later, Carlyle wrote: *'No British man can at- 
tain to be a statesman or chief of workers till he has first proved 
himself a chief of talkers. " ^ In France, Ernest-Charles, mak- 
ing a statistical study of the professions of the deputies, showed 
that, as far as the young, impetuous, lively, and progressive par- 
ties are concerned, almost all the parliamentary representatives 
are journalists and able speakers.* This applies not only to the 
socialists, but also to the nationalists and to the antisemites. The 
whole modern history of the political labour movement confirms 
the observation, Jaures,^ Guesde, Lagardelle, Herve, Bebel, 
Ferri, Turati^, Labriola, Kamsay Macdonald, Troelstra, Henriette 
Koland-Holst, Adler, Daszynski® — all, each in his own fashion, 
are powerful orators. 

On the other hand, it is the lack of oratorical talent which 
largely explains why, in Germany, such a personality as that of 
Eduard Bernstein has remained in comparative obscurity, not- 
withstanding the vigour of his doctrinal views and his great 
intellectual influence; why, in Holland, Domela Nieuwenhuis 
has in the end lost his leading position ; why, in France, a man 
possessed of so much talent and cultivation as Paul Lafargue, 

''Giuseppe Pecchio, Tin' Elesione di Memiri del Parlamento in IngMl- 
terra, Lugano, 1826, p. 109. 

^Thomas Carlyle, Latter Day Pamphlets, No. V, "Stump-Orator," 
Thomas Carlyle 's Works, "The Standard Edition," Chapman and Hall, 
London, 1906, vol. iii, p. 167. 

*J. Ernest-Charles, Les Lettres du Parlement, "La Eevue," 1901, vol. 
xscsix, p. 361. 

^ A critic says of Jaures that he * ' governs by eloquence. " " Jaures est 
orateur; c'est un vaste orateur, et son eloquence est lyrique, s'etale en 
iarges periodes, pour I'essort desquelles il faut de larges amphitheatres. 
La societe, 1 'universe, toute la societe, si possible, dans sa majestueuse 
unite, et 1 'universe dans sa prodigieuse immensite, ee serait mieux encore, 
sont les amphitheatres naturels, les auditoires necessaires, devant qui 
Jaures se sent de taille a discourir" (Edouard Berth, Les discours de 
Jaures, "Mouvement Socialiste," series 2, iv, No. 144, December 1, 1904, 
pp. 215 and 218). Another biographer believes that in Jaures' skull he 
can recognize the anthropological type of the ' ' born orator " : " il a la tete 
faite pour parler au loin et regarder en I'air" (Gustave Tery, Jean Jaures, 
le poete lyrique, "L'CEuvre," Paris, 1904, viii, p. 11). Cf. also the view 
expressed by Urbain Gohier, Bistoire d'une trahison, 1899-1903, Societe 
Parisienne d 'edition, Paris, 1903, pp. 28-9. 

'Eichard Chamarz, CharalctersMssen Oesterreichischer Politiker, "Die 
Zeit," Naumann, 1902, p. 493. 


closely connected by family ties with Karl Marx, failed to attain 
such a position in the councils of the party as Guesde, who is 
far from being a man of science, or even a man of very power- 
ful intelligence, but who is a notable orator. 

Those who aspire to leadership in the labour organizations 
fully recognize the importance of the oratorical art. In March, 
1909, the socialist students of Ruskin College, Oxford, expressed 
discontent with their professors because these gave to sociology 
and to pure logic a more important place in the curriculum than 
to oratorical exercises. Embryo politicians, the students fully 
recognized the profit they would derive from oratory in their 
chosen career. Resolving to back up their complaint by ener- 
getic action, they went on strike until they had got their own 

The prestige acquired by the orator in the minds of the crowd 
is almost unlimited. What the masses appreciate above all are 
oratorical gifts as such, beauty and strength of voice, suppleness 
of mind, badinage ; whilst the content of the speech is of quite 
secondary importance. • A spouter who, as if bitten by a taran- 
tula, rushes hither and thither to speak to the people, is apt to 
be regarded as a zealous and active comrade, whereas one who, 
speaking little but working much, does valuable service for the 
party, is regarded with disdain, and considered but an incom- 
plete socialist.^ 

Unquestionably, the fascination exercised by the beauty of a 
sonorous eloquence is often, for the masses, no more than the 
prelude to a long series of disillusionments, either because the 
speaker 's practical activities bear no proportion to his oratorical 
abilities, or simply because he is a person of altogether common 
character. In most eases, however, the masses, intoxicated by 
the speaker's powers, are hypnotized to such a degree that for 
long periods to come they see in him a magnified image of their 
own ego.^ Their admiration and enthusiasm for the orator are, 
in ultimate analysis, no more than admiration and enthusiasm 
for their own personalities, and these sentiments are fostered by 

'Cf. a notice in "The Westminster Gazette," March 30, 1909. 

* Adolf Zerboglio, Ancora la Propaganda improduttiva, "Critica So- 
ciale, " xiii, No. 14. 

^ Cf . regarding the emotional relationships between leaders and the masses 
a sketch by J. K. Kochanowski, UrzeitUcinge und Wetterleuchten Ge- 
schichtlicher Gesetse in den Ereignissen der Gegenwart, Wagner, Innsbruck, 
1910, p. 19. 


the orator in that he undertakes to speak and to act in the name 
of the mass, in the name, that is, of every individual. In re- 
sponding to the appeal of the great orator, the mass is uncon- 
sciously influenced by its own egoism. 

Numerous and varied are the personal qualities thanks to 
which certain individuals succeed in ruling the masses. These 
qualities, which may be considered as specific qualities of lead- 
ership, are not necessarily all assembled in every leader. Among 
them, the chief is the force of will which reduces to obedience 
less powerful wills. Next in importance come the following: a 
wider extent of knowledge which impresses the members of the 
leaders ' environment ; a catonian strength of conviction, a force 
of ideas often verging on fanaticism, and which arouses the re- 
spect of the masses by its very intensity ; self-sufficiency, even if 
accompanied by arrogant pride, so long as the leader knows how 
to make the crowd share his own pride in himself ; ^® in. excep- 
tional cases, finally, goodness of heart and disinterestedness, 
qualities which recall in the minds of the crowd the figure of 
Christ, and reawaken religious sentiments which are decayed 
but not extinct. 
s The quality, however, which most of all impresses the crowd 
} is the prestige of celebrity. As we learn from modern psy»:: 
chology, a notable factor in the suggestive influence exercised by 
a man is found in the elevation to which he has climbed on the 
path leading to the Parnassus of celebrity. Tarde writes : ' ' En 
realite, quaud un esprit agit sur notre pensee, c'est avec la col- 
laboration de beaucoup d'autres esprits a travers lesquels nous 
le voyons et dont I'opinion se reflete dans la notre, a notre insu. 
Nous songeons vaguement a la consideration qu'on a pour lui 
... a I'admiration qu'il inspire. . . . S'il s'agit d'un 
homme celebre, c'est en masse et confusement que le nombre 
considerable de ses appreciateurs nous impressionne, et cet in- 
fluence revet un air de solidarite objective, de realite imperson- 
nelle, qui fait le prestige propre aux personnes glorieuses. " " 
It suffices for the celebrated man to raise a finger to make for 
himself a political position. It is a point of honour with the 
masses to put the conduct of their affairs in the hands of a ce- 

"Cf. Eienzi (H. van Kol), op. cit., p. 250; Gabriel Tarde, li' Action in- 
termentale, "Grande Eevue," Paris, 1900, iv, No. 11, p. 331; Ettore Cic- 
eotti, Psicologia del Movimento socialista, Laterza, Bari, 1903, p. 128; E, 
Fourniere, op. cit., p. 128. 

"G. Tarde, L' Action intermentale, p. 334. 


lebrity. The crowd always submits willingly to the control of 
distinguished individuals. The man who appears before them 
crowned with laurels is considered a priori to be a demi-god. 
If he consents to place himself at their head it matters little 
where he has gained his laurels, for he can count upon their 
applause and enthusiasm. It was because Lassalle was cele- 
brated at once as poet, philosopher, and barrister that he was 
able to awaken the toiling masses, ordinarily slumbering or 
drawn in the wake of the bourgeois democracy, to group them 
round his own person. Lassalle was himself well aware of the 
effect which great names produce upon the crowd, and for this 
reason he always endeavoured to secure for his party the adhe- 
sion of men of note.^- In Italy, Enrico Ferri, who while still a 
young man was already a university professor, and had at the 
same time acquired wide distinction as the founder of the new 
Italian school of criminology, had merely to present himself at 
the Socialist Congress of Reggio Emilia in the year 1893 to 
secure the leadership of the Italian socialist party, a leadership 
which he retained for fifteen years. In like manner, Cesare Lom- 
broso, the anthropologist, and Edmondo De Amicis, the author, 
had no sooner given in their adhesion to the socialist party than 
they were immediately raised to positions of honour, one becom- 
ing the confidential adviser and the other the official Homer 
of the militant Italian proletariat. Yet not one of these distin- 
guished men had become a regular subscribing member; they 
had merely sent certain congratulatory telegrams and letters.^^ 

"Lassalle, who had a keen sense of theatrical pomp, and wished to dis- 
play the results obtauied by his energies, endeavoured to introduce as many 
bourgeois as he could into the Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiterverein. In his 
famous last speech he plumed himself upon having in the union a con- 
siderable number of men ' ' who belong to the bourgeois class ... a whole 
series of authors and thinkers" (Ferdinand Lassalle, Die Agitation des 
Allgemeinen Deutsclien Arieitervereins und das Verspreclien des Konigs 
von Preussen, a speech at Eonsdorf, 1864. Edition "Vorwarts," Berlin, 
1892, p. 40). Even Bernstein, whose judgment of Lassalle is otherwise 
so extremely favourable, admits the president's excessive inclination for the 
attraction of brilliant names into the Veifein (Eduard Bernstein, Ferdi- 
nand Lassalle und seine Bedeutung fur die ArbeiterTclasse. Edition " Vor- 
warts," Berlin, 1909, p. 55). 

" Regarding the relationships of these two distinguished men with Italian 
socialism, consult Eobert Miehels, Edmondo Be Amicis, " Sozialistische 
Monatshef te, " 1909, fasc. 6, p. 361; and Cesare Lomhroso, Note suW TJomo 
politico e suir TJomo privato, Archiv. di Anthrop. Criminale, xxxii, fasc. 


In France, Jean Jaures, already distingnislied as an iacademie 
philosoplier and as a radical politician, and Anatole France, 
the celebrated novelist, attained to leading positions in tlie 
labour movement as soon as they decided to join it, without hav- 
ing to undergo any period of probation. In England, when 
the poet William Morris, at the age of forty-eight, became a 
socialist, he immediately acquired great popularity in the social- 
ist movement. Similar was the case in Holland of Herman 
Gorter, author of the fine lyric poem Mei, and of the poetess 
Henriette Eoland-Holst. In contemporary Germany there are 
certain great men, at the zenith of their fame, who are intimate 
sympathizers with the party, but have not decided to join it. 
It may, however, be regarded as certain that if Gerhard Haupt- 
mann, after the success of his Weavers, and Werner Sombart, 
when his first published writings had attracted such wide at- 
tention, had given in their official adhesion to the German so- 
cialist party, they would now be amongst the most honoured 
leaders of the famous three million socialists of Germany. In 
the popular view, to bear a name which is already familiar in 
certain respects constitutes the best title to leadership. Among 
the party leaders will be found men who have acquired fame 
solely within the ranks of the party, at the price of long and 
arduous struggles, but the masses have always instinctively pre- 
ferred to these those leaders who have joined them when already 
full of honour and glory and possessing independent claims to 
immortality. Such fame won in other fields seems to them of 
greater value than that which is won under their own eyes 
and solely in the field of socialism. 

Certain accessory facts are worth mentioning in this connec- 
tion. History teaches that between the chiefs who have acquired 
high rank solely in consequence of work for the party and those 
who have entered the party with a prestige acquired in other 
fields, a conflict speedily arises, and there often ensues a pro- 
longed struggle for dominion between two factions. As motives 
for this struggle, we have, on the one side, envy and jealousy, 
and, on the other, presumption and ambition. In addition to 
these subjective factors, objective and tactical factors are also 
in operation. The great man who has attained distinction solely 
within the party commonly possesses, when compared with the 
' ' outsider, ' ' the advantage of a keener sense for the immediately 
practical, a better understanding of mass-psychology, a fuller 
knowledge of the history of the labour movement, and in many 


cases clearer ideas concerning the doctrinal content of the party 

In this struggle between the two groups of leaders, two phases 
may almost always be distinguished. The new arrivals begin 
by detaching the masses from the power of the old leaders, and 
by preaching a new evangel which the crowd accepts with de- 
lirious enthusiasm. This evangel, however, is no longer illu- 
minated by the treasury of ideas which as a whole constitute so- 
cialism properly so-called, but by ideas drawn from the science 
or from the art in which these great men have previously ac- 
quired fame, and it is given a suggestive weight owing to the ad- 
miration of the great amorphous public. Meanwhile, the old' 
leaders, filled with rancour, having first organized for defence, 
end by openly assuming the offensive. They have the natural 
advantage of numbers. It often happens that the new leaders 
lose their heads because, as great men, they have cherished the 
illusion that they are quite safe from such surprises. Are not 
the old leaders persons of mediocre ability, who have acquired 
their present position only at the price of a long and arduous ap- 
prenticeship ? In the view of the new-comers, this apprentice- 
ship does not demand any distinguished intellectual qualities, 
and from their superior platform they look down with mingled 
disdain and compassion. There are, however, additional reasons 
why the men of independent distinction almost invariably suc- 
cumb in such a struggle. Poets, aesthetes, or men of science, they 
refuse to submit to the general discipline of the party, and at- 
tack the external forms of democracy. But this weakens their 
position, for the mass cherishes such forms, even when it is ruled 
by an oligarchy. Consequently their adversaries, though no 
more truly democratic, since they are much cleverer in preserv- 
ing the appearance of democracy, gain credit with the crowd. 
It may be added that the great men are not accustomed to 
confront systematic opposition. They become enervated when 
prolonged resistance is forced upon them. It is thus easy to un- 
derstand why, in disgust and disillusion, they so often abandon 
the struggle, or create a little private clique for separate political 
action. The few among them who remain in the party are in- 
evitably overthrown and thrust into the background by the old 
leaders. The great Lassalle had already found a dangerous 
competitor in the person of the simple ex-workman, Julius Vahl- 
teich. It is true that LassaUe succeeded in disembarrassing 
himself of this opponent, but had he lived longer, he would have 


had to sustain a merciless struggle against Liebkneeht and Bebel. 
William Morris, after lie had broken with the old professional 
leaders of the English labour movement, was reduced to the 
leadership of his little guard of intellectuals at Hammersmith. 
Enrico Ferri, who at his first entrance into the party had to 
encounter the tenacious mistrust of the old leaders, subsequently 
committed theoretical and practical errors which ended by de- 
priving him once for all of his position as official chief of the 
Italian socialists. Gorter and Henriette Eoland-Holst, after hav- 
ing for some years aroused intense enthusiasm, were finally over- 
thrown and reduced to complete impotence by the old notables of 
the party. 

Thus the dominion dependent upon distinction acquired out- 
side the party is comparatively ephemeral. But age in itself 
is no barrier whatever to the power of the leaders. The ancient 
Greeks said that white hairs were the first crown which must 
decorate the leaders' foreheads. To-day, however, we live in an 
epoch in which there is less need for accumulated personal ex- 
perience of life, for science puts at every one's disposal efficient 
means of instruction that even the youngest may speedily become 
thoroughly well instructed. To-day everything is quickly ac- 
quired, even that experience in which formerly consisted the 
sole and genuine superiority of the old over the young. Thus, 
not in consequence of democracy, but simply owing to the tech- 
nical type of modern civilization, age has lost much of its value, 
and therefore has lost, in addition, the respect which it in- 
spired and the influence which it exercised. It might rather 
be said that age is a hindrance to progress within the party, just 
as in any other career which it is better to enter in youth be- 
cause there are so many steps to mount. This is true at least 
in the case of well organized parties, and where there is a great 
influx of new members. It is certainly different as far as con- 
cerns leaders who have grown old in the service of the party. 
Age here constitutes an element of superiority. Apart from the 
gratitude which the masses feel towards the old fighter on ac- 
count of the services he has rendered to the cause, he also pos- 
sesses this great advantage over the novice, that he has a better 
knowledge of his trade. David Hume tells us that in practical 
agriculture the superiority of the old farmer over the young 
arises in consequence of a certain uniformity in the effects of the 
sun, the rain, and the soil upon the growth of plants, and be- 
cause practical experience teaches the rules that determine and 


guide these influences.^* In party life, the old hand has a sim- 
ilar advantage. He possesses a profounder understanding of the 
relationships between cause and effect which fonn the frame- 
work of popular political life and the substance of popular psy- 
chology. The result is that his conduct is guided by a fineness 
of perception to which the young have not yet attained. 

14 1 i Why is the aged husbandman more skilful in his calling than the 
young beginner but because there is a certain uniformity in the operation 
of the sun, rain, and earth towards the production of vegetables; and 
experience teaches the old practitioner the rules by which this operation 
is governed and directed" (David Hume, Enquiries Concerning the Human 
Understanding, viii, i, 65, Ed. Clar. Press, Oxford, 1902, p. 85). 



To enable us to understand and properly to appreciate the su- 
periority of the leaders over the mass it is necessary to turn our 
attention to the characteristics of the rank and file. The ques- 
tion arises, what are these masses? 

It has already been shown that a general sentiment of in- 
difference towards the management of its own affairs is natural 
to the crowd, even when organized to form political parties. 

The very composition of the mass is such as to render it un- 
able to resist the power of an order of leaders aware of its 
own strength. An analysis of the German trade unions in re- 
spect of the age of their members gives a sufficiently faithful 
picture of the composition also of the various socialist parties. 
The great majority of the membership ranges in age from 25 
to 39 years.^ Quite young men find other ways of employing 
their leisure; they are heedless, their thoughts run in erotic 
channels, they are always hoping that some miracle will deliver 
them from the need of passing their whole lives as simple wage- 
earners, and for these reasons they are slow to join a trade 
union. The men over forty, weary and disillusioned, commonly 
resign their membership (unless retained in the union by purely 
personal interest, to secure out-of-work pay, insurance against 
illness, and the like). Consequently there is lacking in the or- 
ganization the force of control of ardent and irreverent youth 
and also that of experienced maturity. In other words, the lead- 
ers have to do with a mass of members to whom they are superior 
in respect of age and experience of life, whilst they have noth- 
ing to fear from the relentless criticism which is so peculiarly 
characteristic of men who have just attained to virility. 

Another important consideration as to the composition of 
the rank and file who have to be led is its fluctuating character. 
It seems, at any rate, that this may be deduced from a report 

* Adolf Braun, OrganisierbarTceit der Arbeiter, "Annalen fur soziale 
Politik und Gesetzebung, " i, No. 1, p. 47. 



of the socialist section of Munich for the year 1906. It contains 
statistics, showing analytically the individual duration of mem- 
bership. The figures in parenthesis indicate the total number 
of members, including those members who had previously be- 
longed to other sections. 

Membeeship Classified Accoeding to Dueation. 

Less than 6 months 1,502 

From 6 months to 2 years 1,620 





, 127 




















More than 8 


about 23 














The fluctuating character of the membership is manifest in 
even greater degree in the German trade unions. This has given 
rise to the saying that a trade union is like a pigeon-house where 
the pigeons enter and leave at their caprice. The German Met- 
alworkers' Federation (Deutscher Metallarbeiterverband) had, 
during the years 1906 to 1908, 210,561 new members. But the 
percentage of withdrawals increased in 1906 to 60, in 1907 to 83, 
and in 1908 to 100.^ This shows us that the bonds connecting the 
bulk of the masses to their organization are extremely slender, 
and that it is only a small proportion of the organized workers 
who feel themselves really at one with their unions. Hence the 
leaders, when compared with the masses, whose composition 
varies from moment to moment, constitute a more stable and 
more constant element of the organized membership. 

^Eobert Michels, Die deutsche Sozialdemocratie, I, Sosiale Zusammen- 
setzung, "Arch, fiir Sozialwissenschaf t, " xxiii, fasc. 2. 

^ A. von Elm, Fiihrer und Massen, ' ' Korrespondenzblatt der Generalkom- 
mission, " xsi. No. 9. 




In the infancy of tlie socialist party, when the organization is 
still weak, when its membership is scanty, and when its princi- 
pal aim is to diffuse a knowledge of the elementary principles of 
socialism, professional leaders are less numerous than are leaders 
whose work in this department is no more than an accessory oc- 
cupation. But with the further progress of the organization, 
new needs continually arise, at once within the party and in re- 
spect of its relationships with the outer world. Thus the moment 
inevitably comes when neither the idealism and enthusiasm of 
the intellectuals, nor yet the goodwill with which the prole- 
tarians devote their free time on Sundays to the work of the 
party, suffice any longer to meet the requirements of the case. 
The provisional must then give place to the permanent, and 
dilettantism must yield to professionalism. 

With the appearance of professional leadership, there ensues 
a great accentuation of the cultural differences between the lead- 
ers and the led. Long experience has shown that among the fac- 
tors which secure the dominion of minorities over majorities — 
money and its equivalents (economic superiority), tradition and 
hereditary transmission (historical superiority) — ^the first place 
must be given to the formal instruction of the leaders (so-called 
intellectual superiority). Now the most superficial observation 
shows that in the parties of the proletariat the leaders are, in 
matters of education, greatly superior to the led. 

Essentially, this superiority is purely formal. Its existence 
is plainly manifest in those countries in which, as in Italy, the 
course of political evolution and a- wide-spread psychological 
predisposition have caused an afflux into the labour party of a 



great number of barristers, doctors, and university professors. 
The deserters from the bourgeoisie become leaders of the prole- 
tariat, not in spite of, but because of, that superiority of formal 
instruction which they have acquired in the camp of the enemy 
and have brought with them thence. 

It is obvious that the dynamic influence of these newcomers 
over the mass of workers will diminish in proportion as their 
own number increases, that a small nucleus of doctors and bar- 
risters in a great popular party will be more influential than a 
considerable quantity of intellectuals who are fiercely contending 
for supremacy.^ In other countries, however, such as Germany, 
whilst we find a few intellectuals among the leaders, by far 
the greater number of these are ex-manual workers. In these 
lands the bourgeois classes present so firm a front against the 
revolutionary workers that the deserters from the bourgeoisie 
who pass over to the socialist camp are exposed to a thorough- 
going social and political boycott, and, on the other hand, the 
proletarians, thanks to the wonderful organization of the state, 
and because highly developed capitalist manufacturing industry 
demands from its servitors high intelligence, have attained to 
the possession of a considerable, if elementary, degree of scholas- 
tic instruction, which they earnestly endeavour to amplify by 
private study. But the level of instruction among the leaders 
of working-class origin is no longer the same as that of their 
former workmates. The party mechanism, which, through the 
abundance of paid and honorary posts at its disposal, offers a 
career to the workers, and which consequently exercises a power- 
ful attractive force, determines the transformation of a number 
of proletarians with considerable intellectual gifts into employees 
whose mode of life becomes that of the petty bourgeois. This 
change of condition at once creates the need and provides the 
opportunity for the acquisition, at the expense of the mass, of 
more elaborate instruction and a clearer view of existing social 
relationships.^ Whilst their occupation and the needs of daily 
life render it impossible for the masses to attain to a profound 
knowledge of the social machinery, a nd above all of the working 

^In the earliest days of the Dutch socialist movement, the leaders, all 
of bourgeois origin, were extremely restricted in number. For this very 
reason, it seems, they resisted in every possible way the adhesion to fhe 
party of new intellectuals whose competition they might have reason to 
fear. (Cf. Frank van der Goes, Van de Oude Partij, "Na Tien Jaar," pp. 
52 et seq.) 

' Cf . Part IV, Chap. V. 


of the political machine, the leader of working-class origin is 
enabled, thanks to his new situation, to make himself intimately 
familiar with all the technical details of public life, and thus 
to increase his superiority over the rank and file. In proportion 
as the profession of politician becomes a more complicated one, 
and in proportion as the rules of social legislation become more 
numerous, it is necessary for one who would understand politics 
to possess wider experience and more extensive knowledge. Thus 
the gulf between the leaders and the rest of the party becomes 
ever wider, until the moment arrives in which the leaders lose 
all true sense of solidarity with the class from which they have 
sprung, and there ensues a new class-division between ex-prole- 
tarian captains and proletarian common soldiers.^ When the 
workers choose leaders for themselves, they are with their own 
hands creating new masters whose principal means of dominion 
is found in their better instructed minds. 

It is not only in the trade-union organization, in the party 
administration, and in the party press, that these new masters 
make their influence felt. Whether of working-class or of bour- 
geois origin, they also monopolize the party representation in 

All parties to-day have a parliamentary aim. (There is only 
one exception, that of the anarchists, who are almost without 
political influence, and who, moreover, since they are the de- 
clared enemies of all organization, and who, when they form or- 
ganizations, do so in defiance of their own principles, cannot 
be considered to constitute a political party in the proper sense 
of the term.) They pursue legal methods, appealing to the elec- 
tors, making it their first aim to acquire parliamentary influence, 
and having for their ultimate goal ''the conquest of political 
power." It is for this reason that even the representatives of 
the revolutionary parties enter the legislature. Their parlia- 
mentary labours, undertaken at first with reluctance,* but sub- 

" Cf . Part VI, Chap. I. 

*It is well known that in all countries the socialists at first took part 
in elections almost in spite of themselves, and full of scruples and theo- 
retical reserves which have nothing in common with the conception of par- 
liamentarism held by socialist deputies to-day. Thus in Germany, in 1869, 
some years after the first participation of the socialists in the elections to 
the Eeiehstag of the North German Federation, Wilhelm Liebknecht 
thought it necessary to justify this action in special writings, in which 
express reference was made to the fact that, notwithstanding this participa- 
tion in the elections, parliament was for the socialists an institution of 


sequently with increasing satisfaction and increasing profes- 
sional zeal, remove them further and further from their elec- 
tors. The questions which they have to decide, and whose effec- 
tive decision demand on their part a serious work of preparation, 
involve an increase in their own technical competence, and a con- 
sequent increase in the distance between themselves and their 
comrades of the rank and file. Thus the leaders, if they were 
not * ' cultured ' ' already, soon become so. But culture exercises 
a suggestive influence over the masses. 

In proportion as they become initiated into the details of po- 
litical life, as they become familiarized with the different aspects 
of the fiscal problem and with questions of foreign policy, the 
leaders gain an importance which renders them indispensable so 
long as their party continues to practise a parliamentary tactic, 
and which will perhaps render them important even should this 
tactic be abandoned. This is perfectly natural, for the leaders 
cannot be replaced at a moment's notice, since all the other 
members of the party are absorbed in their every-day occupa- 
tions and are strangers to the bureaucratic mechanism.^ This 

quite subordinate importance. In Italj, in 1882, when the extension of 
the suffrage induced the Italian workers to abandon the policy of ab- 
stention from voting which they had hitherto practised, Enrico Bignami 
published a similar apologia. Liebknecht wrote: "By our speeches in 
the Eeiehstag we cannot diffuse among the masses any truths that could 
not be much better diffused in some other way. Then what 'practical' 
purpose have we in speaking in the Eeiehstag? None whatever! And to 
speak without purpose is folly. We gain no advantage, whilst we incur 
the obvious disadvantage of sacrificing our principles, of debasing our seri- 
ous political struggle to the level of the parliamentary game, and of en- 
couraging the people to cherish the illusion that the Bismarckian Eeieh- 
stag is destined to solve the social problem" (Wilhelm Liebknecht, Ueber 
die politische Stellung der Sozialdemokratie insbesondere mit Bezug auf den 
Beiclistag, Vorwarts-Verlag, Berlin, 1893, p. 15). Bignami 's view was a 
very similar one. In recommending electoral activity, he contended that 
the socialist deputy should always refrain from active participation in 
legislation, and that the only purpose of his presence in parliament should 
be to proclaim from this lofty tribune the annihilation of the very privilege 
in virtue of which he had himself mounted that tribune (Enrico Big- 
nami, II Candidato socialista, Plebe, Milan, 1882, p. 3). It wiU readilly 
be understood that so long as the socialist deputies continued to hold such 
views of their parliamentary position they could take no part in "practical 
politics. ' ' 

"It must not be supposed that the technical competence of the leaders 
is necessarily profound, and it may be quite superficial. It has been 
justly observed that the deputies (especially in countries in which the 
government is responsible to parliament) have to spend a great deal of 


special competence, this expert knowledge, which the leader ac- 
quires in matters inaccessible, or almost inaccessible, to the mass, 
gives him a security of tenure which conflicts with the essential 
principles of democracy. 

The technical competence which definitely elevates the leaders 
above the mass and subjects the mass to the leaders, has its 
influence reinforced by certain other factors, such as routine, 
the social education which the deputies gain in the chamber, 
and their special training in the work of parliamentary commit- 
tees.^ The leaders naturally endeavour to apply in the normal 
life of the parties the manoeuvres they have learned in the parlia- 
mentary environment, and in this way they often succeed in di- 
verting currents of opposition to their own dominance.'^ The 
parliamentarians are past masters in the art of controlling 
meetings, of applying and interpreting rules, of proposing mo- 

their valuable time in intrigues, and that just as journalists must often 
write, so deputies must often speak, impromptu, discussing subjects with 
which they are very little acquainted. "Pour qui examine, sait ecouter 
et observe, ce n'est pas uniquement le cabinet actuel qui chancelle; la 
desaffection, une certaine desaffection, il ne faut rien exagerer, s'adresse a 
I'outil parlementaire lui-meme. Les republicains devraient renoncer, de 
leur propre initiative, a ce regime, use de palabres, ou un depute passe tout 
son temps k harceler un Ministre lequel emploie tout le sien, meme ses 
veilles, a ne pas se laisser desar^onner. Toute minute se depense en recep- 
tions, en paroles, et en preparation de discours. Nul n'a le loisir de eon- 
troler, de reflechir, de diriger. La qualite premiere d'un depute et d'un 
Ministre est de posseder I'organe et le talent d'un avocat capable de causer 
de tout, a toute heure, en tons lieux. De ce regime qui a succede au 
noble regne de I'epee et qui precede celui du travail, de ce regne de la 
parlotte, 1 'opinion a deja donne une forte preuve de degout" (Paul 
Brousse, "Petit Meridional," April 12, 1909), 

*Cf. Ettore Ciccotti, Montecitorio. Notereile di uno die c'e siato, Mon- 
gini, Eome, 1908, pp. 44, 45, and 74. Ciccotti regards the committees as 
the seat or as the point of origin of an oUgarehy within parliament, that is 
to say, of an oligarchy within an oligarchy. 

^ Bearing upon this point, a striking passage may be quoted from the 
London correspondence of the socialist " Volksstimme, " of Frankfort-on- 
the-Main, of February 2, 1909, concerning the Ninth Congress of the 
English Labour Party. ' * All expectations to the contrary notwithstanding, 
the two closing days of the Congress were peaceful, and were marked by 
no great discussions. This shows above all how united are the principal 
party leaders upon matters of tactics; but it shows also the extraordinary 
adroitness of the party executive, which had arranged the Agenda in such 
a way that it was possible for the chairman to steer the Congress past 
all the danger points almost without attracting attention. . . . The first 
preventive measure adopted by the standing orders committee was to rule 
out of the Agenda certain resolutions whose discussion was regarded as 


tions at opportune moments ; in a word, they are skilled in the 
use of artifices of all kinds in order to avoid the discussion of 
controversial points, in order to extract from a hostile majority 
a vote favourable to themselves, or at least, if the worst comes 
to the worst, to reduce the hostile majority to silence. There 
is no lack of means, varying from an ingenious and often am- 
biguous manner of putting the question when the vote is to be 
taken, to the exercise on the crowd of a suggestive influence by 
insinuations which, while they have no real bearing on the ques- 
tion at issue, none the less produce a strong impression. As 
referendaries {rapporteurs) and experts, intimately acquainted 
with all the hidden aspects of the subject under discussion, many 
of the deputies are adepts in the art of employing digressions, 
periphrases, and terminological subtleties, by means of which 
they surround the simplest matter with a maze of obscurity 
to which they alone have the clue. In this way, whether acting 
in good faith or in bad, they render it impossible for the masses, 
whose "theoretical interpreters" they should be, to follow them, 
and to understand them, and they thus elude all possibility of 
technical control. They are masters of the situation,^ 

The intangibility of the deputies is increased and their privi- 
leged position is further consolidated by the renown which they 
acquire, at once among their political adversaries and among 
their own partisans, by their oratorical talent, by their special- 
ized aptitudes, or by the charm of their intellectual or even of 
their physical personalities. The dismissal by the organised 
masses of a universally esteemed leader would discredit the party 
throughout the country. Not only would the party suffer from 
being deprived of its leaders, if matters were thus pushed to an 
extreme, but the political reaction upon the status of the party 
would be immeasurably disastrous. Not only would it be neces- 
sary to find substitutes without delay for the dismissed leaders, 

needless or undesirable." Neither the correspondent nor the editor of the 
" Volksstimme " thought it necessary to make any comment on this pro- 

*It is interesting to note that the developing bourgeoisie of the seven- 
teenth century found itself in relation to the monarchy in the same state 
of intellectual inferiority as that in which to-day are the democratic 
masses in relation to their leaders, and for very similar reasons. The in- 
genious Louis XIV expressed the point in the following words: "Touta 
I'autorite se trouvait alors [en Tranche Comte] entre les mains du Parle- 
ment qui, comme une assemblee de simple bourgeois, serait facile et a 
tromper et a intimider" (Dreyss, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 328). 


who have only become familiar with political affairs after many- 
years of arduous and unremitting toil (and where is the party 
which between one day and the next would be able to provide 
efficient substitutes?) ; but also it has to be remembered that it is 
largely to the personal influence of their old parliamentary chiefs 
that the masses owe their success in social legislation and in the 
struggle for the conquest of general political freedom. 

The democratic masses are thus compelled to submit to a 
restriction of their own wills when they are forced to give to 
their leaders an authority which is in the long run destructive to 
the very principle of democracy. The leader's principal source 
of power is found in his indispensability. One who is indispen- 
sable has in his power all the lords and masters of the earth.^ 
The history of the working-class parties continually furnishes 
instances in which the leader has been in flagrant contradiction 
with the fundamental principles of the movement, but in which 
the rank and file have not been able to make up their minds to 
draw the logical consequences of this conflict, because they feel 
that they cannot get along without the leader, and cannot dis- 
pense with the qualities he has acquired in virtue of the very 
position to which they have themselves elevated him, and be- 
cause they do not see their way to find an adequate substitute. 
Numerous are the parliamentary orators and the trade-union 
leaders who are in opposition to the rank and file at once theo- 
retically and practically, and who, none the less, continue to 
think and to act tranquilly on behalf of the rank and file. These 
latter, disconcerted and uneasy, look on at the behaviour of the 
"great men," but seldom dare to throw off their authority and 
to give them their dismissal. 

The incompetence of the masses is almost universal throughout 
the domains of political life, and this constitutes the most solid 
foundation of the power of the leaders. The incompetence fur- 
nishes the leaders with a practical and to some extent with a 
moral justification. Since the rank and file are incapable of look- 
ing after their own interests, it is necessary that they should 

* One who is indispensable can submit even the hereditary leader to his 
will. Eoscher relates that a despotic prince in North Germany, when one 
of his best oflScials was offered a position in a neighbouring state, asked 
the minister who advised the prince to retain the official in his own 
service, "Is he indispensable?" When the minister replied in the affirma- 
tive, the prince said, "Let him go then, for I have no use for an indis- 
pensable servant" (Eoscher, op. cit., p. 359). 


have experts to attend to their affairs. From this point of view ' 
it cannot he always considered a had thing that the leaders 
should really lead. The free election of leaders by the rank and 
file presupposes that the latter possess the competence requisite 
for the recognition and appreciation of the competence of the 
leaders. To express it in French, la designation des capacites 
suppose elle-meme la capacite de la designation. 

The recognition of the political immaturity of the mass and 
of the impossibility of a complete practical application of the 
principle of mass-sovereignty, has led certain distinguished 
thinkers to propose that democracy should be limited by de- 
mocracy itself.^*^ Condorcet wished that the mass should itself 
decide in what matters it was to renounce its right of direct con- 
trol.^^ This would be the voluntary renunciation of sovereignty 
on the part of the sovereign mass. The French Revolution, 
which claimed to translate into practice the principle of free 
popular government and of human equality, and according to 
which the mutable will of the masses was in the abstract the su- 
preme law, established through its National Assembly that the 
mere proposal to restore a monarchical form of government 
should be punishable by death.^^ In a point of such essential 
importance the deliberative power of the masses must yield to 
the threat of martial law. Even so fanatical an advocate of 
popular sovereignty as Victor Considerant was forced to ac- 
knowledge that at the first glance the machinery of government 
seemed too ponderous for it to appear possible for the people as 
such to make the machine work, and he therefore proposed the 
election of a group of specialists whose duty it should be to 
elaborate the text of the laws which the sovereign people had 
voted in principle.^^ Bernstein also denies that the average man 
has sufficient political competence to render unrestricted popu- 
lar sovereignty legitimate. He considers that a great part of the 
questions that have to be decided consist of peculiar problems 
concerning which, until all men become living encyclopaedias, a 

'" Cf . Part III, Chap. IV. 

"Condorcet, Progres de I'Esprit Jiummn, ed. de la Bib. Nat., p. 186. 

" Adolphe Thiers, Eistoire de la Bevolution Frangaise, Brockhaus, Leip- 
zig, 1846, vol. ii, p. 141. The same spirit of illogical amalgamation of un- 
limited popular sovereignty with the most rigid and despotic tutelage ex- 
ercised over this alleged sovereign by its leaders, dominates most of the 
speeches of the Jacobins. (Cf., for example, (Euvres de B anion, recueillies 
et annotees par A. Vermorel, Cournol, Paris, pp. 119 et seq.) 

"Victor Considerant, op. cit., p. 41. 


few only will have interest and knowledge. To attain to an ade- 
quate degree of information regarding such questions, so that a 
carefully considered judgment can be given, requires a rare 
sense of responsibility such as cannot at present be attributed to 
the majority of the citizens.^* Even Kautsky could not but rec- 
ognize the difficulty of the problem thus presented to the labour 
movement; he has pointed out that it is not every province of 
social life which is suitable for democratic administration, and 
that democracy must be introduced gradually, and will not be 
completely realized until those interested shall have become 
capable of forming an independent judgment upon all decisive 
questions; and he shows that the possibility of realizing demo- 
cratic administration will be greater in proportion as the co- 
operation of all the persons concerned in the decision of the is- 
sues becomes possible.^^ 

The incompetence of the masses, which is in last analysis al- 
ways recognized by the leaders, serves to provide a theoretical 
justification for the dominion of these. In England, which owes 
to Thomas Carlyle the theory of the supreme importance of 
great men, or "heroes," and where that theory has not, as in 
Germany, been utterly expelled from the official doctrine of 
socialism by the theory of historical materialism, even socialist 
thought has been profoundly influenced by the great-men theory. 
The English socialists, in fact, including those of the most vari- 
ous tendencies, have openly declared that if democracy is to be 
effective it must assume the aspect of a benevolent despotism./ 
"He [the leader] has a scheme to which he works, and he has 
the power to make his will effective. "^^ In all the affairs of 
management for whose decision there is requisite specialized 
knowledge, and for whose performance a certain degree of au- 
thority is essential, a measure of despotism must be allowed, and 
thereby a deviation from the principles of pure democracy. 
From the democratic point of view this is perhaps an evil, but 
it is a necessary evil. Socialism does not signify everything hy 
the people, but everything for the people.^^ Consequently the 

"Eduard Bernstein, Zur Geschichte und Theorie des Sosialismus, Edel- 
heim, Berlin, 1910, p. 204. 

^'Karl Kautsky, Consumvereine und Arheitertewcgung, Ignaz Brand, 
Erste Wiener Volksbuchhandlung, Vienna, 1897, p. 16. 

^^ James Eamsay Macdonald, Socialism and Society, Independent Labour 
Party, London, 1905, pp. xvi, xvii. 

" Ernest Belfort Bax, Essays in Socialism New and Old, Grant Eichards, 
London, 1906, pp. 174, 182. 


English socialists entrust tlie salvation of democracy solely to 
the good will and to the insight of the leaders. The majority 
determined by the counting of heads can do no more than lay 
down the general lines ; all the rest, which is tactically of greater 
importance, devolves iipon the leaders. The result is that quite 
a small number of individuals — three, suggests Bax — effectively 
controls the policy of the whole party. / Social democracy is not 
democracy, but a party fighting to attain to democracy. In 
other words, democracy is the end, but not the means.^- The 
impossibility of the means' being really democratic is conspicu- 
ously shown by the character of the socialist party as an under- 
taking endowed with certain financial characteristics, and one 
which, though created for ideological aims, depends for its suc- 
cess, not only upon the play of economic forces, but also upon 
the quality of the persons who have assumed leadership and re- 
sponsibility. X 

Here, as elsewhere, the saying is true that no undertaking 
can succeed without leaders, without managers. In parallelism 
with the corresponding phenomena in industrial and commer- 
cial life, it is evident that with the growth of working-class 
organization there must be an accompanying growth in the 
value, the importance, and the authority of the leaders.^^ The 
principle of the division of labour creates specialism, and it is 
with good reason that the necessity for expert leadership has been 
compared with that which gives rise to specialism in the medical 
profession and in technical chemistry .2° 

Specialism, however, implies authority. Just as the patient 
obeys the doctor, because the doctor knows better than the 
patient, having made a special study of the human body in 
health and disease, so must the political patient submit to the 
guidance of his party leaders, who possess a political competence 
impossible of attainment by the rank and file. 

Thus democracy ends by undergoing transformation into a 
form of government by the best, into an aristocracy. At once 
materially and morally, the leaders are those who must be re- 
garded as the most capable and the most mature. 

Is it not, therefore, their duty as well as their right to put 

IS Bax ibid. 

'" Fausto Pagliari, Le organizzasione e i loro Impiegati, relazione al VII 
Congresso Nazionale delle societa di resistenza, Tip. Coop., Turin, 1908, pp. 
3, 5, 8. 

""Kienzi (H. van Kol), op. cit., p. 250. 



themselves at the head, and to lead not merely as representatives 
of the party, but as individuals proudly conscious of their own 
personal value ? ^^ 

^Such was in actual fact the thesis of a Milanese politician, Guglielmo 
Gambarotta. Of. his article La Funsione dell' JJomo politico, "Eivista 
critica del Socialismo," Eome, 1899, anno I, fase. 9, p. 888. Gambarotta, 
not having succeeded in becoming a socialist deputy, abandoned the social- 
ists to join the bourgeois radicals. 




No one who studies the history of the socialist movement in Ger- 
many can fail to be greatly struck by the stability of the group 
of persons leading the party. 

In 1870-71, in the year of the foundation of the German Em- 
pire, we see two great personalities, those of Wilhelm Lieb- 
knecht and August Bebel, emerge from the little group of the 
faithful to the new socialist religion to acquire leadership of 
the infant movement by their energy and their intelligence. 
Thirty years later, at the dawn of the new century, we find them 
stiU occupying the position of the most prominent leaders of the 
German workers.^ This stability in the party leadership in Ger- 
many is very striking to the historian when he compares it with 
what has happened in the working-class parties elsewhere in 
Europe. The Italian socialist party, indeed, for the same rea- 
sons as in Germany, has exhibited a similar stability. Elsewhere, 
however, among the members of the Old International, a few in- 
dividualities only of minor importance have retained their faith 
in socialism intact into the new century. In Germany, it may 
be said that the socialist leaders live in the party, gi-ow old and 
die in its service. 

We shaU subsequently have occasion to refer to the smaUness, 
in Germany, of the number of deserters from the socialist camp 
to join the other parties.^ In addition to these few who have 

^In the minutes of the Congress of Unification held at Gotha in 1875, 
at which the existing German socialist party was born, we find among the 
seventy-three delegates the following names of persons, who all remained 
faithful to the party, and of whom those yet alive are still prominent and 
active workers on its behalf: Auer, Bock, Bios, Geib, Grillenberger, Lieb- 
knecht, Loewenstein, Dreesbach, A. Kapell, Molkenbuhr, Hoffmann, Bebel, 
Motteler and Stolle. (Cf. Protokoll reissued by the Frankfort "Volks- 
stimme," Waffenl-ammer des Sozialismus, eine Sammlung alter und neuer 
Propagandaschrift€n. Sixth half-yearly issue, January to June, 1906, p. 
122.) — The facts recorded on p. 85 show that the stability in the rank and 
file of the party is far less marked than the stability of the leadership. 

*Vide infra, pp. 107 et seq. 



completely abandoned socialism, there are some, who, after work- 
ing on behalf of the party for a time, have left politics to devote 
their energies to other fields. There are certain men of letters, 
who rose in the party like rockets, to disappear with corre- 
sponding rapidity. After a brief and sometimes stormy activity, 
they have quitted the rude political stage to return to the peace- 
ful atmosphere of the study; and often their retirement from 
active political life has been accomplished by a mental estrange- 
ment from the world of socialist thought, whose scientific content 
they had perhaps never assimilated. Among such may be men- 
tioned: Dr. Paul Ernst, at one time editor of the "Volkstrib- 
iine"; Dr. Bruno Wille, who led the section of Die Jungen (the 
Young Men) to the assault upon the veterans of the party who 
were captained by Bebel and Liebknecht (1890) ; Dr. Otto Erich 
Hartleben, once dramatic critic of "Vorwarts," but never a 
conspicuous member of the party ; Dr. Ludwig Woltmann, dele- 
gate of the Rhenish manufacturing town of Barmen to the Con- 
gress of Hanover in 1899, where he was engaged in the defence 
of Bernstein, and who, after writing some socialist books which 
constitute notable contributions to sociology, subsequently de- 
voted himself entirely to * ' political anthropology ' ' with a strong 
nationalist flavour; ^ Ernst Gystrow (Dr. Willy Hellpach) ; and 
several others, for the most part talented and highly cultured 
men who have made names for themselves in German belletristic 
literature or in German science, but who were not suited for en- 
during political activities. It has also happened more than once 
in the history of the social democracy that men dominated by a 
fixed idea, and inspired by the hope of concentrating upon the 
realization of this idea the whole activity of socialist propaganda, 
or of simply annexing socialism to the service of this obsession, 

'We owe to Paul Ernst a little work on social science, Die Gesellschafi- 
licher Produktion des Kapitals bei gesteigerter FroduTctivitat der Arbeit 
(1894), and also two literary studies, Lumpeniagasch and Im Charnbre 
separee, which belong to socialist imaginative literature. — To the socialist 
phase of Otto Erich Hartleben belong the interesting description of social 
life TJm den Glauben, ein Tagebuch (known also under the title Die Se- 
renyi), published in "Zwei Novellen, " Wilhelm Friedrich, Leipzig, 1887. 
— Ludwig Woltmann wrote Die Darwinsche Tlieorie und der Sozialismus, 
Beitrag sur (MaturgescMclite der menschlichen Gesellschaft (Diisseldorf, 
1889), and Der historisehe Materialismus, Darstellung und Kritih der Marx- 
istischen Weltanschauung (Diisseldorf, 1900). His brief but able and bold 
defence of Bernstein will be found in the Protolcoll of the Congress of 
Hanover (Buehhandlung "Vorwarts," Berlin, 1899, pp. 147 et seq.). 


have rushed into the party, only to leave it as suddenly with a 
chilled enthusiasm as soon as they perceived that they were at- 
tempting the impossible. At the LIunich Congress of 1902, the 
pastor Georg Welker of Wiesbaden, a member of the sect of 
Freireligiosen (Broad Church), inspired by all the ardour of a 
neophyte, wished to substitute for the accepted socialist principle 
that religion is to be considered as a private matter the tactically 
dangerous device Ecrasez Vinfame. Again, at the first Congress 
of Socialist Women, which was held contemporaneously with the 
Munich Socialist Congress, Dr. Karl von Oppel, who had re- 
cently returned from Cape Colony and was a new member of 
the socialist party, emphasized the need for the study by social- 
ists of foreign languages, and even foreign dialects, to enable 
them to come into more intimate contact with their brethren in 
other lands, and in his peroration insisted that the use of the 
familiar "thou" should be made universal and compulsory in 
the intercourse of socialist comrades. Such phenomena are char- 
acteristic of the life of all parties, but are especially common 
among socialists, since socialism exercises a natural force of at- 
traction for cranks of all kinds. Every vigorous political party 
which is subversive in its aims is predestined to become for a 
time an exercise ground for all sorts of innovators and quack- 
salvers, for persons who wish to cure the ills of travailing hu- 
manity by the use of their chosen specifics, employed exclusively 
in smaller or larger doses — the substitution of friction with oil 
for washing with soap and water, the wearing of all-wool under- 
clothing, vegetarianism. Christian science, neo-]Malthusianism, 
and other fantasies. 

More serious than the loss of such casual socialists were the 
losses which the party sustained during the period of the early 
and fierce application of the anti-socialist laws. At this time, in 
the period of reaction from 1840 to 1850, a large proportion of 
the leaders were forced to emigrate to America.* Still more seri- 
ous were the losses sustained by the party during the Bismarck- 
ian regime. Bebel declares that at this time the number of those 

* Among these refugees, in the early fifties, was F. A. Sorge, one of 
the founders of the "Neue Zeit." When by the influeuce of Mars the 
General Council of the International had in 1872 been transferred from 
London to New York, Sorge assumed the largely imaginary function of 
secretary of the Council, and subsequently, after the extinction of the Old 
International, devoted himself entirely to music. Another refugee was the 
poet Eobert Schweichel, who returned to Germany after fifty years in 


who were deprived of their means of livelihood and were forced 
to seek work and asylum on foreign soil ran into several hun- 
dreds. Of the nucleus of those who before the passing of the 
anti-socialist laws which unchained the tempest against the so- 
cialists, had worked actively in the party as propagandists, edi- 
tors, and deputies, more than eighty left Germany, which most 
of them never revisited. ' ' This involved a great draining of our 
energies. " ^ In the worst years the exodus was particularly 
strong. Thus in the year 1881, just before the elections had dem- 
onstrated the indomitable vitality of the German socialist party, 
Friedrich Wilhelm Fritzsche (ob. 1905) and Julius Vahlteich, 
the critic of Lassalle, both of them at one time leaders in the 
party of Lassalle and socialist deputies to the Eeichstag, crossed 
the Atlantic never to return.** Notwithstanding the storm which 
raged for more than ten years against the socialist party, the 
number of those whose socialist activity survived this period of 
terror was very large. Obviously, then, in times of comparative 
calm the stability of the leaders must be considerably greater. 
The author has examined the lists of those present at the con- 
gresses held in 1893 by three of the international -;?ocialist parties, 
namely, the German social democrats, the Parti Ouvrier (Gues- 
distes) in France, and the Italian socialist party, in order to as- 
certain the names of those who in the year 1910 were still in the 
first rank of the fighters on behalf of socialism in their respective 
countries. The results of this enquiry, which cannot claim abso- 
lute scientific precision, but which have none the less consider- 
able practical value, are as follows. Of the 200 delegates to the 
Congress of Cologne, 60 were still fighting in the breach in 1910 ; 
of the 93 delegates of the Congress of Paris, 12 ; and of the 311 
delegates to the Congress of Reggio Emilia, 102.'^ This shows a 
very high percentage of survivals, above all for the proletarian 
parties of Italy and Germany, but to a less extent for the Parti 

^ ProtoJcoll der VerJiandlungen des Parteitags su Halle a/S., 1890, p. 29. 

* Vahlteich, however, though lost to the German labour movement, was 
not lost to socialism, for as editor of the German socialist daily published 
in New York he continued to play an active part in the life of the party 
until his death in 1915, 

' Of. the lists of delegates published in the Protokoll iiber die VerJiand- 
lungen des Parteitages su Coin (Verlag Vorwarts, Berlin, 1893, pp. 280 
et seq.) ; Onsieme Congres National du Parti Ouvrier tenu a Paris du 
7 au 9 octobre, 1893 (Imp. Ouvriere S. Delory, Lille, 1893, p. 9) ; II Con- 
gresso di Beggio Emilia, Verbale stenografico (Tip. degli Operai [Societa 
Cooperativa], Milan, 1893, p. 57). 


Ouvrier.^ The bourgeois parties of the left on the Continent will 
hardly find it possible to boast of a similar continuity in the 
personnel of their leaders great and small. In the working-class 
parties we find that the personnel of the officials is even more 
stable than that of the leaders in general. The causes of this 
stability, as will be shown in the sequel, depend upon a complex 
of numerous phenomena. 

"b( Long tenure of office involves dangers for democracy. For 
this reason those organizations which are anxious to retain their 
democratic essence make it a rule that all the offices at their dis- 
posal shall be conferred for brief periods only.® If we take into 
account the number of offices to be filled by universal suffrage 
and the frequency of elections, the American citizen is the one 
who enjoys the largest measure of democracy. In the United 
States, not only the legislative bodies, but all the higher adminis- 
trative and judicial officials are elected by popular vote. It has 
been calculated that every American citizen must on an average 
exercise his function as a voter twenty-two times a year.^° The 
members of the socialist parties in the various countries must 
to-day exercise similarly extensive electoral activities: nomina- 
tion of candidates for parliament, county councils, and munici- 

^ It would obviously be altogether erroneous to deduce from this the 
existence in the French national character of any particular fickleness or 
instability. The reasons for the comparative instability of the French, 
leadership are connected with various tendencies of historical tradition, 
and political democracy in France, the discussion of which would lead 
us too far from our subject. 

^ The third French Eepublie, wishing to guard against the danger of a 
military dictatorship and a new Csesarism, has decreed that no general 
shall remain in command of an army corps for more than three years in 
succession. — In periods especially inspired with democratic ideas the very 
chambers of commerce have been moved to similar preventive measures. 
In the time of Napoleon, the Cologne chamber of commerce made a rule 
that all the officers must be re-elected annually, except the president, who 
must be changed every three months. It soon appeared, however, that the 
strict application of such a system was impossible. The frequent changes 
in the presidency were extremely injurious to the conduct of business, 
and deprived the chamber of commerce of the services of its best elements, 
thus reducing all reformatory energy to impotence (Mathieu Schwann, 
GeschicMe der Kolner EandelsMmmer, Neubner, Cologne, 1906, p. 444). 
SchmoUer considers that this election to offices in rotation is a peculiar 
blessing of urban civilization, municipal in its origin. (Cf. SchmoUer, Um- 
risse und Untersuchungen sur Verfassungs-, Verwaltungs- und Wirtschafts- 
gescUcMe, 1898, p. 291.) 

"Werner Sombart, Warum giebt es in der Vereinigten Staaten Tceinen 
Sosialismu^?, J. C. B. Mohr (Siebeck), Tiibingen, 1906, p. 43. 


palities ; nomination of delegates to local and national party con- 
gresses; election of committees; re-election of the same; and so 
on, da capo. In almost all the socialist parties and trade unions 
the officers are elected for a brief term, and must be re-elected at 
least every two years. The longer the tenure of office, the greater 
becomes the influence of the leader over the masses and the 
greater therefore his independence. Consequently a frequent 
repetition of election is an elementary precaution on the part of 
democracy against the virus of oligarchy. 

Since in the democratic parties the leaders owe their position 
to election by the mass, and are exposed to the chance of being 
dispossessed at no distant date, when forced to seek re-election, it 
would seem at first sight as if the democratic working of these 
parties were indeed secured. A persevering and logical appli- 
cation of democratic principles should in fact get rid of all per- 
sonal considerations and of all attachment to tradition. Just as 
in the political life of constitutional states the ministry must 
consist of members of that party which possesses a parliamentary 
majority, so also in the socialist party the principal offices ought 
always to be filled by the partisans of those tendencies which 
have prevailed at the congresses.^^ Thus the old party digni- 
taries ought always to yield before youthful forces, before those 
who have acquired that numerical preponderance which is repre- 
sented by at least half the membership plus one. It must, more- 
over, be a natural endeavour not to leave the same comrades too 
long in occupation of important offices, lest the holders of these 
should stick in their grooves, and should come to regard them- 
selves as God-given leaders. But in those parties which are sol- 
idly organized, the actual state of affairs is far from correspond- 
ing to this theory. The sentiment of tradition, in co-operation 
with an instinctive need for stability, has as its result that the 
leadership represents always the past rather than the present. 
Leadership is indefinitely retained, not because it is the tangible 
expression of the relationships between the forces existing in 
j;he party at any given moment, but simply because it is already 
constituted. It is through gregarious idleness, or, if we may em- 
ploy the euphuism, it is in virtue of the law of inertia, that the 
leaders are so often confirmed in their office as long as they like. 
These tendencies are particularly evident in the German social 
democracy, where the leaders are practically irremovable. The 

" This has recently been laid down as a rule by the Dutch socialist party. 


practice of choosing an entirely new set of leaders every two 
years ought long ago to have become general in the socialist party, 
as prototype of all democratic parties. Yet, as far as the Ger- 
man socialists are concerned, not merely does no such practice 
exist, but any attempt to introduce it provokes great discontent 
among the rank and file. It is true that one of the fundamental 
rules of the party, voted at the Mainz congress in 1900, lays 
down that at every annual congress the party must ''renew/' by 
ballot and by absolute majority, the whole of the executive com- 
mittee, consisting of seven persons (two presidents, two vice- 
presidents, two secretaries, and a treasurer). This would be the 
true application of the democratic principle, but so little is it 
commonly observed in practice, that at every congress there are 
distributed to the delegates who are about to elect their new lead- 
ers printed ballot papers bearing the names of all the members 
of the retiring committee. This proves, not merely that the re- 
election of these leaders is taken as a matter of course, but even 
that a certain pressure is exercised in order to secure their re- 
election. It is true that in theory every elector is free to erase 
the printed names and to write in others, and that this is all 
the easier since the vote is secret. None the less, the printed 
ballot paper remains an effective expedient. There is a French 
phrase, corriger la fortune; this method enables the leaders to 
corriger la democratie.^^ A change in the list of names, although 
this is simply the exercise of an electoral right established by the 
rules, is even regarded as a nuisance by most of the delegates, 
and is censured by them should it occur. This was characteristi- 
cally shown at the Dresden congress in 1903.^^ When the report 
spread through the congress that the revolutionary socialists of 
Berlin intended to remove from among the names on the ballot 
paper the name of Ignaz Auer, of whom they disapproved on 
account of his revisionist tendencies (an accusation which they 
subsequently repelled with indignation), the widespread anger 
aroused by the proposed sacrilege sufficed to overthrow the 

It is in this manner that the leaders of an eminently demo- 
cratic party, nominated by indirect suffrage, prolong throughout 

^Eegarding identical practices employed by the "party machine" in 
America, cf. Ostrogorsky, La Devwcratie et I' Organisation des Partis po- 
Utiques, Caiman Levy, Paris, 1903, vol. ii, p. 200. 

"See p. 62, note 6. 

" Cf , ProtoJcoll des Parteitages su Dresden, pp. 361, 373 et seq., 403. 


their lives the powers with which they have once been invested. 
The re-election demanded by the rules becomes a pure formality. 
The temporary commission becomes a permanent one, and the 
tenure of office an established right. The democratic leaders are 
more firmly established in their seats than were ever the leaders 
of an aristocratic body. Their term of office comes greatly to 
exceed the mean duration of ministerial life in monarchical 
states. It has been calculated that in the German Empire the 
average official life of a minister of state is four years and three 
months. In the leadership, that is to say in the ministry, of the 
socialist party we see the same persons occupying the same posts 
for forty years in succession.^^ Naumann writes of the demo- 
cratic parties: "Here changes in the leading offices occur less 
rapidly than in those of the secretaries of state and of the min- 
isters. The democratic method of election has its own peculiar 
loyalty. As far as individual details are concerned it is incalcu- 
lable, and yet on general lines we can count upon its activity 
with more certainty than upon the policy of princes. Through 
all democracy there runs a current of slow-moving tradition, for 
the ideas of the masses change only step by step and by gentle 
gradations. "While in the monarchical organism there is an 
abundance of ancient forms, we find no less in the democratic 
organism that the longer it exists the more does it become domi- 
nated by tenaciously established phrases, programmes, and cus- 
toms. It is not until new ideas have been in progress up and 
down the country for a considerable time that these ideas can 
penetrate the constituted parties through the activity of par- 
ticular groups that have adopted them, or as an outcome of a 
spontaneous change of opinion among the rank and file. This nat- 
ural tenacity of parliaments which are the outcome of popular 
election is indisputable, be it advantageous or disadvantageous 
to the community. ' '^^ In democratically constituted bodies else- 
where than in Germany a similar phenomenon is manifest. In 
proof of this, reference may be made to a paragraph in the rules 
drawn up on February 3, 1910, by the Italian General Confeder- 
ation of Labour as to the proclamation of the general strike. 

""We hear a great deal of tlie eapriciousness and fickleness of popular 
favour. But it is certain that a leader who does his duty conscientiously i3 
more secure in his position in the labour movement than is a minister in 
the Prussian monarchy founded upon the grace of God" (Eduard Bern- 
stein, Die Arieiteriewegung, ed. cit., p. 149). 

"Friedrich Naumann, DetnoTcratie und Kaisertum, ed. cit., p. 53. 


The rule begins by declaring, in perfect conformity with demo- 
cratic principles, that the declaration of a general strike must 
always be preceded by a referendum to the branches. To the 
terms of this referendum were to be appended the minutes of 
the session at which the Confederation of Labour had decided to 
submit the question. But the rule adds that if there should be 
disagreement between the executive council of the Federation 
and the results of the reference to the branches, if, for instance, 
the council had rejected the general strike while the referendum 
showed that the rank and file favoured it, this difference must 
not be taken to imply a vote of censure on the leaders.^^ This 
shows that in the working-class organizations of Italy ministerial 
responsibility is not so strongly established as in the Italian 
state, where the ministry feels that it must resign if, when it 
has brought forward a bill, this bill is rejected by the majority 
of the Chamber, As far as concerns England, we learn from 
the Webbs that the stability of the officials in the labour organi- 
zations is superior to that of the employees in the civil service. 
In the Amalgamated Association of Operative Cotton-Spinners 
we actually find that there is a rule to the effect that the officials 
shall remain in office indefinitely, as long as the members are 
satisfied with them.^^ 

An explanation of this phenomenon is doubtless to be found in 
the force of tradition, whose influence assimilates, in this respect, 
the revolutionary masses to the conservatives. A contributory 
cause is one to which we have already referred, the noble human 
sentiment of gratitude.^^ The failure to re-elect a comrade who 
has assisted in the birth of the party, who has suffered with it 
many adversities, and has rendered it a thousand services, would 
be regarded as a cruelty and as an action to be condemned. Yet 
it is not so much the deserving comrade as one who is tried and 
expert whom the collectivity approves above all others, and whose 
collaboration must on no account be renounced. Certain indi- 
viduals, simply for the reason that they have been invested with 
determinate functions, become irremovable, or at least difficult 
to replace. Every democratic organization rests, by its very na- 
ture, upon a division of labour. . But wherever division of labour 
prevails, there is necessarily specialization, and the specialists 
become indispensable. This is especially true of such states aa 

""Stampa," February 3, 1910. 

"Sidney and Beatrice Webb, op. cit., vol. i, p. 16. 

"Cf. supra, pp. 60 et seq. 


Germany, where the Prussian spirit rules, where, in order that 
the party may be safely steered through all the shoals and break- 
ers that result from police and other official interference and 
from the threats of the penal laws, the party can be assured of 
a certain continuity only when a high degree of stability charac- 
terizes the leadership. 

There is an additional motive in operation. In the working- 
class organization, whether founded for political or for economic 
ends, just as much as in the life of the state, it is indispensable 
that the official should remain in office for a considerable time, 
so that he may familiarize himself with the work he has to do, 
may gain practical experience, for he cannot become a useful 
official until he has been given time to work himself into his new 
office. Moreover, he will not devote himself zealously to his task, 
he will not feel himself thoroughly at one with the aim he is in- 
tended to pursue, if he is likely to be dismissed at any moment ; 
he needs the sense of security provided by the thought that noth- 
ing but circumstances of an unforeseen and altogether extraor- 
dinary character will deprive him of his position. Appointment 
to office for short terms is democratic, but is quite unpractical 
alike on technical and psychological grounds. Since it fails to 
arouse in the employee a proper sense of responsibility, it throws 
the door open to administrative anarchy. In the ministries of 
lands under a parliamentary regime, where the whole official 
apparatus has to suffer from its subordination to the continuous 
changes in majorities, it is well known that neglect and disorder 
reign supreme. Where the ministers are changed every few 
months, every one who attains to power thinks chiefly of making 
a profitable use of that power while it lasts. Moreover, the con- 
fusion of orders and regulations which results from the rapid 
succession of different persons to command renders control ex- 
traordinarily difficult, and when abuses are committed it is easy 
for those who are guilty to shift the responsibility on to other 
shoulders. ''Eotation in office/' as the Americans call it, no 
doubt corresponds to the pure principle of democracy. Up to a 
certain point it is adapted to check the formation of a bureau- 
cratic spirit of caste. But this advantage is more than compen- 
sated by the exploitive methods of ephemeral leaders, with all 
their disastrous consequences. On the other hand, one of the 
great advantages of monarchy is that the hereditary prince, hav- 
ing an eye to the interests of his children and his successors, pos- 
sesses an objective and permanent interest in his position, and 


almost always abstains from a policy which would hopelessly 
impair the vital energies of his country, just as the landed pro- 
prietor usually rejects methods of cultivation which, while pro- 
viding large immediate returns, would sterilize the soil to the 
detriment of his heirs. 

Thus, no less in time of peace than in time of war, the rela- 
tionships between different organizations demand a certain de- 
gree of personal and tactical continuity, for without such con- 
tinuity the political authority of the organization would be im- 
paired. This is just as true of political parties as it is true of 
states. In international European politics, England has always 
been regarded as an untrustworthy ally, for her history shows 
that no other country has ever been able to confide in agree- 
ments concluded with England. The reason is to be found in 
this, that the foreign policy of the United Kingdom is largely 
dependent upon the party in power, and party changes occur 
with considerable rapidity. Similarly, the party that changes its 
leaders too often runs the risk of finding itself unable to con- 
tract useful alliances at an opportune moment. The two gravest 
defects of genuine democracy, its lack of stability (perpetuum 
mobile democraticuni) and its difficulty of mobilization, are de- 
pendent on the recognized right of the sovereign masses to take 
part in the management of their own affairs. 

In order to bind the leader to the will of the mass and to re- 
duce him to the level of a simple executive organ of the mass, 
certain primitive democracies have at all times sought to apply, 
in addition to the means previously enumerated,-^ measures of 
moral coercion. In Spain, the patriotic revolutionary Junta of 
1808 insisted that thirty proletarians should accompany the gen- 
eral who was to negotiate with the French, and these compelled 
him, in opposition to his own convictions, to reject all Napo- 
leon's proposals.^^ In modern democratic parties there still pre- 
vails the practice, more or less general according to the degree 
of development these parties have attained, that the rank and 
file send to the congresses delegates who are fettered by definite 
instructions, the aim of this being to prevent the delegate from 
giving upon any decisive question a vote adverse to the opinion 
of the majority of those whom he represents. This precaution 
may be efficacious in certain eases, where the questions con- 
cerned are simple and clear. But the delegate, since he has no 

' Supra, p. 28. " Eoscher, op. cit., p. 392. 


freedom of choice, is reduced to the part of puppet, and can- 
not allow himself to be influenced by the arguments he hears at 
the congress or by new matters of fact which are brought to 
light in the course of the debate. But the result is, that not only 
is all discussion rendered superfluous in advance, but also that 
the vote itself is often falsified, since it does not correspond to 
the real opinions of the delegates. Of late fixed instructions have 
less often been given to the delegate, for it has become manifest 
that this practice impairs the cohesion so urgently necessary to 
every party, and provokes perturbations and uncertainties in its 

- In proportion as the chiefs become detached from the mass 
they show themselves more and more inclined, when gaps in 
their own ranks have to be filled, to effect this, not by way of 
popular election, but by co-optation, and also to increase their 
own effectives wherever possible, by creating new posts upon 
their own initiative. There arises in the leaders a tendency to 
isolate themselves, to form a sort of cartel, and to surround 
themselves, as it were, with a wall, within which they will admit 
those only who are of their own way of thinking. Instead of 
allowing their successors to be appointed by the choice of the 
rank and file, the leaders do all in their power to choose these 
successors for themselves, and to fill up gaps in their own ranks 
directly or indirectly by the exercise of their own volition. 

This is what we see going on to-day in all the working-class 
organizations which are upon a solid foundation. In a report 
presented to the seventh congress of Italian labour organizations, 
held at Modena in 1908, we find it stated that the leaders must 
recognize capable men, must choose them, and must in general 
exercise the functions of a government.^^ In England these 
desiderata have already received a practical application, for in 
certain cases the new employees of the organization are directly 
chosen by the old officials.^^ The same thing happens in Ger- 
many, where about one-fifth of the trade-union employees are 
appointed by the central power. Moreover, since the trade-union 
congresses are composed almost exclusively of employees, the 
only means of which the individual organized workers can avail 
themselves for the expression of their personal opinions is to be 

^^Fausto Pagliari, Le Organissasioni e i loro Impiegati, Tip. Coop., 
Turin, 1908, p. 8. 

^^ Sidney and Beatrice Webb, The History of Trade Unionism, new 
edition, Longmans, London, 1907, vol. i, p. 87. 


found in contributions to the labour press.^* In the French la- 
bour movement, which claims to be the most revolutionary of all, 
the secretary of the Confederation Generale du Travail possesses 
the right of nomination when there is a question of electing new 
representatives to the executive committee of the federation. He 
exercises this right by sending to those Bourses du Travail which 
are not represented on the executive, a list of the comrades whom 
he considers suitable for this position, recommending the elec- 
tion of these. -^ 

In the German socialist party, the individual Landesvorstdnde, 
or provincial committees, and the central executive claim the 
right of veto over the selection of candidates. But this right of 
veto gives them a privilege of an essentially oligarchical char- 
acter, elevating the committees to the rank of a true government, 
and depriving the individual branches of one of the fundamental 
rights of all democracy, the right of individual liberty of action.^^ 
In Holland, again, the socialist candidatures for parliament must 
be approved by the party executive, and this executive is as ir- 
removable as that of the German party. It rarely happens that 
an old member of the executive whose term of office has expired 
fails to obtain re-election should he desire it. It is in Holland 
also that we see such conspicuous pluralism among the party 

In the nomination of candidates for election we find, in addi- 

** Cf . Paul Kampffmeyer, Die EntwicTclung der deutschen GewerJcschaften, 
"Annalen fiir soziale Politik u. Gesetzg.," vol. i, No. 1, p. 114. 

^ Fernand Pelloutier, Eistoire des Bourses du Travail, Schleiclier Freres, 
Paris, 1902, p. 150. 

^ W. Heine writes in this connection : ' ' We desire that the people should 
rule themselves; our party programme demands that in the most impor- 
tant and most difficult problem the people should decide by direct voting 
and direct legislation; is it right then that in the most immediate and 
simplest of questions, namely, in what men is the people to put its con- 
fidence, the decision of the people should be subject to the goodwill and 
pleasure of a superior authority? ... If the party officials are allowed 
to decide for themselves who is to enter their charmed circle, the danger 
arises that fresh blood and new ideas will more and more be refused admit- 
tance, and that the party will tend to undergo that ossification which is 
characteristic of all oligarchies and bureaucracies. Further consequences 
of such a tendency are shown in the slackening of the spirit of initiative 
and in the decline of interest in the intellectual life of the party, and also 
in an inclination to an obstinate or unreflective cling^g to traditional 
formulas, iu a tendency to stick in a groove. From this point of view, a 
good bureaucracy is more dangerous than a bad one" (Wolfgang Heine, 
op. eit., pp. 282, 284). 


tion, another grave oligarcliical phenomenon, nepotism. The 
choice of the candidates almost always depends upon a little 
clique, consisting of the local leaders and their assistants, which 
suggests suitable names to the rank and file.^'^ In many cases 
the constituency comes to be regarded as a family property.^^ In 
Italy, although democratic principles are greatly honoured, we 
not infrequently find that when a representative dies, or can no 
longer continue in office, the suffrages of the constituency are 
transferred without question to his son or to his younger brother, 
so that the position is kept in the family. 

Those who love paradox may be inclined to regard this process 
as the first symptom marking the passage of democracy from a 
system of plebiscitary Bonapartism to one of hereditary mon- 

^"Trois ou quatre personnes au plus redigent les programmes et choi- 
sissent les noms des futurs representants dans chaque departement. Ces 
personnes font de la politique una carriere: elles veulent surtout et avant 
tout, je ne dirai pas le pouvoir, mais les places. Ces politiciens trouvent 
plus commode de se faire agents electoraux pour arriver aux fonctions 
publiques que de s'y preparer par de longues etudes." This description, 
of the conditions of French political life is from the pen of Germain, 
quoted by J. Novicow, Conscience et Volonte sociales, Giard et Briere, Paris, 
1897, p. 65. 

^ Cf . supra, p. 13. 




In the German socialist party desertion and treason on the part 
of the leaders have been rare. This is conspicuous in contrast 
with what has happened in the French socialist party, especially 
as regards the parliamentary group of the latter. The elections 
of August 20, 1893, sent to the Palais Bourbon six socialist depu- 
ties: Paulin ]\Iery, Alphonse Humbert, A. Abel Hovelacque, 
Alexandre Millerand;, Pierre Richard, and Ernest Roche. Of 
these, one only, the distinguished linguist and anthropologist, 
Hovelacque, remained faithful to the party to his death; the 
other five are now declared enemies of the socialist party. The 
part played by Millerand in socialism, a great one as is well 
known, came to an end in 1904. In his electoral address of May, 
1906, the term "socialist" had passed into the background; he 
was running in opposition to the official socialist candidate^ the 
sociologist Paul Laf argue, the son-in-law of Marx; his role was 
now that of an anti-coUectivist and patriotic bourgeois reformer. 
The other socialist ex-deputies in the above list had deserted their 
colours at an even earlier date. The trifling political shock 
which is associated with the name of General Boulanger sufficed 
to overthrow the house of cards which represented the socialist 
convictions of these warriors on behalf of the revolutionary prole- 
tariat of France. To-day they are all vowed to the service of 
the clerico-nationalist reaction. Paulin Mery became one of the 
Boulangist leaders ; in May, 1906, when, in the second ballot, he 
was opposed to the bourgeois radical, Ferdinand Buisson, the 
socialists of his constituency unhesitatingly cast their votes in 
favour of his opponent. At the time of the Dreyfus affair, Al- 
phonse Humbert was one of the most ardent defenders of the 
general staff of the army. Ernest Roche, at one time a disciple 
of Auguste Blanqui, and then, in conjunction with Edouard Vail- 
lant, one of the most noted leaders of the Blanquists, is now the 
lieutenant of Henri Rochefort ; in a recent parliamentary election 
in the seventeenth arrondissement of Paris he was defeated by 



the reformist socialist Paul Brousse, although Brousse, the some- 
time anarchist and theoretical father of the propaganda by deed 
in western Europe, had recently forfeited the good-will of the 
more revolutionary section of the workers (Brousse, as President 
of the Paris municipal council, had received Alfonso XIII as 
guest at the Hotel de Ville, and this conduct was hardly in con- 
formity with socialist principles). It is true that even to-day 
Eoche stiU belongs to a Parti Blanquiste ni Dieu ni Maitre which 
announces week by week in the " Intransigeant " meetings of a 
more or less private character, but this party is really fictitious, 
for though it has a few branches it does not count in political 
life; in all practical political questions this petty group works 
hand in hand with the antisemites and the nationalists, and in 
matters of theory, whenever Roche has occasion to allude to them, 
he proclaims himself le champion incorruptible de la Bepuhlique, 
du Socialisme et de la Patrie, his anti-capitalism being extremely 
tame, but his jingoism fanatical.^ 

In contrast with this, the German socialist party shares with 
the Italian and the Belgian parties the good fortune of possess- 
ing faithful and devoted leaders. The leadership of the German 
party has been again and again reinforced by valuable acces- 
sions from the other parties of the left, such as August Bebel, 
the bourgeois democrat, Max Quarck and Paul Bader, of the 
"Frankfurter Zeitung," Paul Gohre and Max Maurenbrecher, 
who had previously founded the national socialist party in op- 
position to the socialists. On the other hand, it has suffered no 
extensive losses of significant personalities by desertion to the 
bourgeois camp. The only exceptions to this generalization re- 
late to leaders of minor importance, such as Max Lorenz,^ ex- 
editor of the ' ' Leipzige Volkszeitung, ' ' who subsequently passed 
through the gate of national socialism to gain a secure position 
ias editor of the * ' Antisozialdemokratische Korrespondenz ' ' ; the 
young Count Ludwig Eeventlow, who in 1906 became a deputy 
in the antisemite interest ; and a few other academic personalities 
of minor importance,^ besides one or two exceptional converted 

*Cf. Michels, Die deuische Sozialdemocratie im internationalen Ver- 
iande, "Arch. f. Sozialw., " vol. xxv, pp. 213 et seq. 

' Max Lorenz has written a number of small socialist works, and is author 
of the reformist book Die marxistische Sosialdemokratie, Wiegand, Leipzig, 

* Among these may be mentioned: Louis Viereek, formerly an oflScial 
ip. the Prussian ^ervice^ subsequently socialist deputy to the Eeichstag, and 


proletarians, such as the basket-maker Fischer.* It would not be 
right to regard as treason in the strict sense of the term a simple 
passage from the socialist party properly so-called to some other 
form of militant socialism, such as happened in the case of social- 
ists as fervent and convinced as the deputy Johann Most, the 
noted binder of Augsburg, and Wilhelm Hasselmann, the chem- 
ist, another deputy, who after 1890 broke openly with the party, 
to adhere first to anti-parliamentary socialism and subsequently 
to anarchism. To speak of these men as ''deserters" would be to 
identify the notion of desertion of the organized party with de- 
sertion of the idea of working-class emancipation. But even if 
we count as deserters from socialism those who have gone over 
to the ranks of the anarchists, we are compelled to admit that 
among the apostates from the German socialist party there has 
not been one of those who have occupied a leading position in 
the party. 

The fighting proletariat in Germany has hitherto been spared 
the spectacle of its former representatives seated on the Govern- 
ment benches surrounded by the enemies of the socialists. There 
has in Germany been no such figure as Aristide Briand, yester- 
day advocate of the general strike and counsel for the defence 
of men prosecuted for anti-militarism, who had expressly de- 
clared himself in full sympathy with the anti-militarist theory 
plutot I'insurrection que la guerre, and to-day, as Minister of 
Public Instruction, approving no less vigorously and explicitly 

now correspondent of bourgeois newspapers in New York; Max Pfund, 
at one time an ardent socialist, author of TJnsere TaTctik, ein ehrliches Wort 
zur Kldrung (Mauerer & Dimmiak, Berlin, 1891 — which closes with the 
words, "Let us see to it that we have a firm standing-ground when the 
storm begins to rage"), now on the staff of the "Lokal Anzeiger," of 
Berlin; Dr. Franz Liitgenau, who formerly played a leading part as a so- 
cialist in the political life of Westphalia, and was the author of a number 
of books published by Dietz, and of a work entitled Darwin und der Staat 
(Thomas, Leipzig), but now on the staff of a bourgeois journal at Dort- 
mund; Heinrieh Oberwinder, the author, one of the original disciples of 
Lassalle, but who, during the days of the anti-socialist law was unmasked 
at Paris as a spy of the German government. (Cf. Franz Mehring, Ge- 
schichte der deutschen Sosialdemokratie, Dietz, Stuttgart, 1904, 2nd ed., 
vol. ii, p. 300) ; Fernand Bueb, of Miilhausen, elected in 1893, when 
twenty-eight years of age, as socialist deputy to the Keichstag, but who 
has since deserted the party and disappeared from the political stage. 

*In order to make a parade of his proletarian origin, Fischer, who has 
now joined the conservative party, ostentatiously signs his articles "Fischer, 
the Basket-Maker." 


the measures of repression enforced by his colleagues in the Cab- 
inet against anti-militarists. Germany has not known a John 
Burns, who as a labour leader in 1886 played a prominent part 
in the organization of huge demonstrations of the unemployed, 
at which open reference was made to the possible need for de- 
stroying the palaces and sacking the shops, and whose activities 
had led to a panic in the bourgeois world of the English capital, 
but who a few years later as President of the Local Government 
Boardj when a motion was brought forward in Parliament at the 
instance of the Labour Representation Committee demanding the 
intervention of Parliament on behalf of the unemployed, replied 
that he was neither a public-house politician nor a soft-hearted 
philanthropist prepared to squander the money of hard-working 
citizens upon the so-called unemployed, and who advised the 
workers to save their money in good times and not to spend it 
upon unworthy objects. Such disillusionments, experienced at 
the hands of men in whose sincerity and firmness of character the 
organized workers had an ingenuous confidence, have a politically 
discouraging and morally enervating effect. They tend to lead 
the workers to indifferentism, or to one-sided specializations, such 
as the new unionism, or an exclusive belief in the co-operative 
movement, or, again, to certain forms of libertarian aspiration, 
and to alienate them from the thought of political organization, 
and from a considered and measured parliamentary activity. We 
see this, above all, in France, where the case of Briand was 
merely a sequel to that of Millerand, and the case of Millerand 
a sequel, if you will, to the case of Louis Blanc, and where the 
great mass of the manual workers are split up into the two sec- 
tions of those who advocate the most defiant abstentionism and 
of those whose minds are dominated by the spirit which the 
French aptly term jemenficMsme.^ The fact that the socialist 

^ Quite recently a number of the most eminent socialist leaders in France 
have passed over into the governmental camp and are thus in violent con- 
flict with their former comrades. Among these may be mentioned Eene 
Viviani, now Minister of State; the university professor V. Augagneur, at 
one time socialist mayor of Lyons and subsequently governor of the Island 
of Madagascar; Gabriel Deville, disciple of Marx, and one of the founders 
of the Parti Ouvrier; Alexandre Zevaes, formerly one of the ablest of 
the Guesdist leaders and at that time a strict Marxist; Joseph Sarraute; 
and many others. De Pressense writes very truly, ' * Combien d 'hommes n 'a- 
t-elle pas vus [la classe ouvriere fran^aise], qui, apres lui avoir prodigue lea 
paroles de revolte, apres avoir seme les excitations, apres avoir pratique 
sans relache le verbalisme revolutionnaire, a peine arrives au pouvoir, 


parties of Germany, Italy, and Belgium have hitherto been free 
from the disturbing and demoralizing effects of such episodes 
furnishes the chief if not the only reason for the unlimited and 
often blind confidence which is displayed, as no unprejudiced ob- 
server of the members of these parties can fail to notice, in the 
"tried and trusted" leaders. In Germany, indeed, the author- 
ity which this spirit gives to the party leaders, and which con- 
tinually accentuates the tendency towards centralization, is enor- 
mously reinforced by the spirit of organization, by the intense 
need for guidance, which characterizes the German proletariat, 
and also by the comparative poverty of the party in individuals 
of intellectual pre-eminence and of those possessing economic in- 
dependence. Owing to these exceptional conditions, the leaders 
are preserved from the disintegrating influence of personal and 
tactical dissensions, which would otherwise have led them into 
conflicts with the masses of the party similar to those that have 
raged with such violence in Italy and in Holland, notwithstand- 
ing the stability and the authoritative position of the socialist 
leaders in these latter countries. 

It may be said of the German socialist leaders that they have 
not yet lost contact with the masses; that there stiU prevails 
complete harmony between the form and the content of their 
tactics even when there should be a conflict between these ; that 
the community of ideas between leaders and led has not yet been 
broken; and, to sum up, that the executive committee of the 
party, and also (though perhaps less perfectly) the parliamen- 
tary socialist group, still represent the average opinion of the 
comrades throughout the country. The confidence which the 
organized German workers give to those that represent them in 
the complex game of politics is based upon the security which 
the leaders offer at once from the moral and the political point 
of view. This security incontrovertibly exists. The manner in 
which the masses entrust their interests to the leaders is, histori- 
cally at least, legitimate and explicable. But the causes of the 

se sont eyniquement retournes contre leur propre passe et contre leurs dupes, 
leur ont fait un crime d 'avoir garde f oi a leurs predications et se sont f aits 
les ordonnateurs sans merci et sans serupule des hauts et basses ceuvres 
de la reaction sociale. . . . II me semble pourtant que rien ne serait plus 
deraisonnable et plus funeste que de se livrer, pour cette cause, a une apa- 
thie sceptique, a un pococurantisme gouailleur, qui ferait le jeu de ces 
viles politiciens au moins autant que le fit jadis la naive credulite d'un 
enthousiasme sans critique" (Francis de Pressense, L' Affaire Vurant, ou 
la nouvelle Affaire Dreyfus, "he Mouvement Soeialiste," xiii, No. 227). 


stability of the leaders are naturally, like all causes, complex. 
Among various explanations, it has been suggested that all the 
virtue of the German labour leaders lies in the fact that they 
have never been exposed to serious temptations, so that it resem- 
bles that of a young woman who has never been courted. There 
is a certain element of truth in this explanation, in so far as we 
have to do with that special political virtue which consists in 
the faithful defence of the party flag. In a state where parlia- 
mentary government does not exist, where the ministers of state 
are chosen by the sovereign from among the leading officials of 
the administration without any regard to the parliamentary ma- 
jority, and where consequently no direct path to office is open to 
popular representatives, the possibility of intellectual corruption, 
that is to say of a more or less complete change of front on the 
part of the socialist leaders under the influence of a desire for 
ministerial office, is ipso facto excluded, just as is excluded an 
adhesion to the party of bourgeois social reform of the revolu- 
tionary socialists who aim at changing the very base of the ex- 
isting economic order. On the other hand, Arturo Labriola, 
who has followed the German movement with keen interest and 
lively sympathy, is undoubtedly right in his caustic prediction 
that as soon as the day comes when the German Government is 
willing to afford itself the luxury of a lukewarm liberal ministry, 
since the socialists are really not difficult to satisfy, the ''reform- 
ist infection" will spread far even in Germany. He adds that 
the germs of this infection are already widely diffused.^ 

Yet although it is true that the feudal structure of the Ger- 
man Empire, which is still reflected in the laws and in the col- 
lective mentality of the country, imposes necessary limits upon 
the ambition of the labour leaders, it must be admitted that the 
fact we are now considering does not find an adequate explana- 
tion in the mere lack of temptation. Moreover, temptation, in 
the vulgar and material sense of the term, is no more lacking in 
Germany than elsewhere. No government, however autocratic, 
has ever neglected a chance of corrupting the austere virtue of 
the leaders of any movement dangerous to authority, by the 
distribution of a portion of those secret service funds which 
every state has at its disposal, and which have been voted by 
the popular representatives themselves. Nevertheless, it may be 
affirmed that the leaders of the German labour movement, even 

* Arturo Labriola, Eiforme e Mvdlusione Sociale, Soc. Edit. Milan, Milan, 
1904, p. 17. 


if tliey do not possess that evangelical morality of which, we find 
so many examples in the early days of the Italian labour move- 
ment, have yet always resisted any attempts to corrupt their in- 
tegrity by bribes. "We need hardly reckon as an exception, the 
ease which has not yet been fully cleared up of the president of 
the Allgemeiner Deutsche Arbeiterverein, Johann Baptist von 
Schweitzer, in the year 1872, for it seems probable that the fiery 
Bebel, who secured Schweitzer's condemnation and expulsion 
from the party, was in reality altogether in the wrongJ Even 
the subordinates in the leadership of the party^ those whom we 
may speak of as the non-commissioned officers, have usually 
proved altogether inaccessible to the blandishments of the police. 
They have sometimes accepted bribes, but always to hand them 
over at once to "Vorwarts" or some other socialist paper, in 
which there has then appeared an invitation to the owner of the 
money to come and claim it personally within a certain number 
of days, since if unclaimed it would be handed over to the party 

The unshaken fidelity of the German socialist leaders rests 
upon powerful reasons, and some of these are ideal in nature. 
The characteristic love of the German for his chosen vocation, 
devotion to duty, years of proscription and of persecution shared 
with other comrades, the isolation from the bourgeois world of 
the workers and their representatives, the invincible conviction 
that only a party of a compact and solid structure will be able 
to translate into action the lofty aims of socialism, and the conse- 
quent aversion for any socialist struggle conducted by free-lances 
outside the ranks of the organized party — such are some of the 
numerous reasons which have combined to produce in the minds 
of the German socialists a love for their organization enabling it 
to resist the most violent storms. This attachment to the party. 

^Although, so far as is known, Be"bel continued to the end of his life 
to maintain the justice of the accusation he brought in 1872 (cf. August 
Bebel, Aus meinem Leben, Dietz Naehf., Stuttgart, 1911, Part II, p. 130), 
the official historian of the party, Franz Mehring (Gescliichte, der deutschen 
SozialdemoTcratie, ed. cit, vol. iv, pp. 66 et seq.), takes the opposite view. 
Commenting on Schweitzer 's declaration after his exclusion from the Verein, 
Mehring remarks: "We cannot read without emotion the wise and dig- 
nified leave-taking of the man who in difficult times had so firmly steered 
the ship of the social democracy, who had rendered so m.any^ invaluable 
services to the class-conscious proletariat, and who, enmeshed in the con- 
sequences of his own best actions, committed more than one unjust action, 
but suffered far greater injustice in return." 


often manifested by fine and moving actions, certainly represents 
one of the most solid elements in the foundation upon which has 
been erected the edifice of German socialism. It enables us to 
understand the conduct of the socialist leaders during and after 
numerous crises which, in the view of the profane, would neces- 
sarily terminate in the open abandonment of the party by a 
number of its leaders. It is their love for the party, with which 
the great majority of the comrades feel themselves to be identi- 
fied, which has led such men as Eduard Bernstein and Kurt 
Eisner to retain their membership after violent conflicts which 
had almost led to their expulsion. It is proper to add that in 
the course of this struggle these men have always preserved the 
personal dignity without which a self-respecting man cannot 
possibly remain among his companions-at-arms. 

These ideal motives are reinforced by motives, no less impor- 
tant, of a material order. The practice of paying for the serv- 
ices rendered to the party by its employees creates a bond which 
many of the comrades hesitate to break, and this for a thousand 
reasons. The pecuniary remuneration for services to the party 
which is given by the German social democracy immunizes the 
party employees against the grosser forms of temptation. Where- 
as in France, England, Holland, Italy, and elsewhere, socialist 
propaganda, spoken and written, is effected chiefly by volunteers, 
in the German socialist party gratuitous propaganda is practi- 
cally unknown. Elsewhere than in Germany, socialist activity 
is based upon individual enthusiasm, individual initiative, and 
individual devotion; but in Germany it reposes upon loyalty, 
discipline, and the sentiment of duty, encouraged by pecuniary 
remuneration. In the history of the non-German socialist parties, 
for example, we find important periodicals, such as the "Avan- 
guardia Socialista" of Milan and the ''Nieuwe Tijd" of Amster- 
dam, which have been founded by individual initiative, and 
which are maintained by the political idealism of a few individ- 
uals. These continue to carry on their work although the ex- 
penses of the venture often exceed the income, and although 
those who write for the papers in question are unpaid or almost 
wholly unpaid. In Germany, on the other hand, the " Vorwarts" 
of Berlin, the "Leipziger Volkszeitung" and the "Neue Zeit" 
were founded and sustained by the party as a whole, and have a 
paid editorial staff and paid contributors. It would nevertheless 
be quite wrong to suppose that socialist propagandists and so- 
cialist officials are paid on a scale which enables them with the 


hard-earned pence of the workers to lead that luxurious exist- 
ence which, with an ignorance bordering on impudence, is often 
ascribed to them by the "respectable" press and the loungers of 
the clubs. The life of a socialist journalist is far from resem- 
bling that of a spendthrift or a libertine ; his day's work is by no 
means an easy one, his labours demand an abundance of self- 
denial and sacrifice and are nervously exhausting; whilst the 
remuneration he receives is a modest one when compared with 
the gravity and the difficulty of his task.^ No one will deny 
this who has even an elementary acquaintance with the condi- 
tions of work and pay in the socialist press and with the life led 
by the employees of the party. Men of the ability and education 
of Karl Kautsky, Max Quarck, Adolf Miiller, and a hundred 
others, would have been able, had they chosen to devote them- 
selves to some other service than that of the workers, to obtain 
a material reward much greater than that which they secure in 
their present positions. 

This reference to the practice of the German socialist party of 
remunerating all services rendered was necessary to enable the 
reader to understand rightly certain peculiarities of German so- 
cialist life. But it must not be supposed that there is no unpaid 
socialist work in Germany. In country districts where the organ- 
ization is still poor, and in the case of small weekly papers whose 
financial resources are inconsiderable, much gratuitous work is 
done by the socialists. In not a few places, moreover, the local 
comrades do not receive pay for any of the speeches they make. 
A witness to the idealism which, despite all difficulties, continues 
to flourish in the working class is the way in which during elec- 
tions and at other times many working-class socialists sacrifice 
their Sunday rest in order to do propagandist work in the coun- 
try, vigorously distributing leaflets, electoral addresses, socialist 
calendars, etc. This gratuitous work is often carried out, not 
only under conditions involving the patient endurance of expo- 
sure and privation, but also in face of all kinds of abuse and of 
the danger of arrest on the most trivial pretexts, and of attacks 
made by excited antisemitic or clerical peasants. 

In general, however, the German practice is to pay for all 
services to the party, from the most trifling notice contributed to 
a newspaper to the lengthiest public discourse. Whilst this de- 
prives the party to a large extent of the spirit of heroism and 

*Cf. pp. 57 et seq. 


enthusiasm, and of work done by voluntary and spontaneous 
collaboration, it gives to the organization a remarkable cohesion, 
and an authority over the personnel which, though doubtless 
detracting from its elasticity and its spirit of initiative, and, in 
essence, tending to impair the very socialist mentality, constitutes 
none the less one of the most important and indispensable bases 
of the party life. 

Able critics of socialist affairs, such as Ernst Giinther, have 
endeavoured to explain the fact that persons of recognized abil- 
ity and worth have preferred as a rule to subject themselves to 
the party-will rather than to break completely with the organiza- 
tion, by the suggestion that had they decided otherwise they 
would have imperilled their political existence, and would have 
renounced ''the possibility of continuing to represent efficiently 
the interests of the workers. " " It is unquestionable that the 
socialist platform is now the best one from which to advocate 
the interests of the workers, and is historically the most appro- 
priate, so that the renunciation of this platform almost always 
involves the loss of the opportunity for defending working-class 
interests. But it is no less indisputable that "to the average man 
the close association of his own economic existence with his de- 
pendence upon the socialist party seems a sufficient excuse ' ' for 
the sacrifice of his own convictions in order to remain in a party 
with which he is in truth no longer in full sympathy.^" 

It has been written : 

Staatserhaltend sind nur jene. 
Die vom Staate viel erhalten." 

For all their exaggeration, there is a nucleus of truth in these 
words, and the criticism applies with equal justice to the party as 
to the state. The practice of paying for all services rendered, 
tends in no small degree to reinforce the party bureaucracy, and 
favours centralized power. Financial dependence upon the 

^ Ernst Giinther, Die Bevisionisticlie Bewegung in der deutschen Sozial- 
demo'kratie, Jahrbuch fiir Gesetzgebung (SchmoUer, anno xxx (1906), fasc. 
1, p. 253). 

" Giinther, op. cit. 
^ "There is a word-play here which renders a literal translation impossi- 
ble. The general significance is that those only can be counted upon to 
support the state who receive much at the hands of the state. — Much in 
the same way as in England the reactionaries are accustomed to say 
(though here without any intention to gibe) that those only who have a 
"stake in the country" can be trusted to care for its interests! 


party, that is to say upon the leaders who represent the major- 
ity, enshaekles the organization as with iron chains. The most 
tenaciously conservative members of the organization are, in 
fact, those who are most definitely dependent upon it. When 
this dependence attains to a certain degi^ee of intensity, it exer- 
cises a decisive influence upon the mentality. It has been noted 
that in those countries in which members of parliament are not 
salaried, but where the party organizations themselves provide 
for the support of their parliamentary representatives, the dep- 
uties have a very strong sense of dependence upon the members 
of their organizations. Where, on the contrary, members of par- 
liament are remunerated by the state, they feel themselves be- 
fore all to be parliamentarians, even though, they may owe their 
election exclusively to the socialist party. 

It is well known that the numerical strength of the trade 
unions depends to a very considerable extent upon the economic 
advantages which the unions offer to their members. The suc- 
cess of the trade-union movement from this point of view has 
suggested to the German socialists that the socialist party should 
extend to the rank and file of the membership some of the ad- 
vantages which have hitherto been the exclusive privilege of the 
party bureaucracy. Otto Gerisch, treasurer of the party and 
member of the executive committee, referred to this possibility in 
a speech on the problem of organization, made at the Bremen 
Congress of 1904.^- After quoting facts proving the superiority 
of the trade-union organization over that of the party, he stated 
that in his view the real reason of this superiority was to be 
found in the "accumulation of benefits" which the unions pro- 
vided for their members. He added that the workers did not 
prove faithful to their unions until these organizations under- 
took the practice of mutual aid on the large scale, but that there- 
after the membership increased enormously and became far more 
stable. Continuing this train of thought, he said : "It is char- 
acteristic that the Konigsberg comrades, who, in view of the ad- 
vanced position they occupy in the Gennan socialist movement, 
must certainly be held to possess extensive experience in matters 
of organization and propaganda, pro%dde subsidies to members of 
the party to meet funeral expenses.^^ This practice has been 

^ProtoTcoll ilber die VerMndlungen des Parteitages der sosialdemokra- 
tischen Partei Beutsclilands, abgelialten zu Bremen, Sept. 10-24, 1904, Ver- 
lag "Vorwarts," BerHn, p. 272. 

"A similar institution is found also in Giessen. Here every member of 


introduced for a very good reason. We are at a disadvantage in 
the socialist party as compared with the trade unions, in that we 
cannot offer any direct advantages to our members. But this 
will not always be the case." It seems doubtful if these words 
are to be interpreted as a direct announcement of the intention 
to introduce a system of mutual life-insurance, or whether Ger- 
isch merely intended a warm recommendation of such a measure. 
Oda Olberg, who was present at the congress on behalf of the 
Italian socialist paper *'Avanti," interpreted the words in the 
former sense, and described the speech as a " menace of degener- 
ation. " ^* It is certain that in the German socialist party ten- 
dencies exist towards laying greater stress upon such material 
advantages, tendencies which might lead to the transformation 
of the party organization into a socialistically tinged proletarian 
assurance society. It is evident that an evolution in this direc- 
tion would attract to the party hundreds of thousands of new 
members, so that there would be a considerable accession of 
strength. At the same time the apparatus of the socialist bu- 
reaucracy would be greatly developed. The effects which such 
an evolution would have upon the real strength of the party 
vis-a-vis the state, upon its moral impetus, its internal unity, and 
its tactical cohesion, are questions which cannot be discussed 
here. For our purpose it has been enough to draw attention to 
the influence which the practice of paying for services rendered 
has upon the maintenance and the reinforcement of the organi- 

In aristocratic regimes, so long, at least, as the aristocracy 
retains its essentially plutocratic character, the elected officials 
are usually unpaid. Their functions are purely honorary, even 
when they require the whole time of those who undertake them. 
They are members of the dominant class, are assumed to be rich, 
to make it a point of honour to spend money for the public good, 

the local braneli of the socialist party pays a monthly subscription of 25 
pfennigs. Five pfennigs out of this sum are paid in to a special funeral ac- 
count, and from this account is made a disbursement of 20 marks for the 
funeral expenses of every member, or of his wife. 

"Cf. leading article, II Congresso di Brema, "Avanti," anno viii. No. 
2,608. Oda Olberg writes : ' ' Frankly, we cannot conceive a socialist party 
which attracts and retains its members by offering them economic ad- 
vantages. We consider that it would be far better to have a handful of 
devoted comrades who have joined our ranks, not for lucre, but impelled 
by the socialist faith, ready for every sacrifice, willing to give themselves, 
rather than a whole army of members who have entered the party regarding 


and to occupy, even at considerable pecuniary sacrifice, eminent 
positions in the service of the state. A similar practice prevails 
even in modern democracies. The Lord Mayor of London and 
his colleagues in the other great cities of England are unpaid. 
The same is true of the Italian Syndics. Inasmuch as the enter- 
tainment allowances, etc., are usually altogether inadequate, the 
holders of such offices must be men of considerable private means 
to enable them to support the necessary charges, and they must 
therefore be either wealthy parvenus or men born to wealth. 
Similar considerations apply to Italian parliamentary represen- 
tation. In Italy the government opposes the idea of paying sal- 
aries to members of parliament, on the ground that it would be 
improper for the elected of the nation to receive base money for 
their activities.^^ The consequence is that in Italy, since the 
Italian socialist party is a poor one, the manual workers are 
a priori excluded from parliament. Among the thirty-six social- 
ist deputies in the Italian chamber during 1909, two only had 
been manual workers (trade-union leaders). In such conditions 
it is likely that the party representation in the legislature will be 
restricted to persons with private means, to those, that is to say, 
who have time and money which they are able to devote to an 
unremunerative occupation, and one which demands frequent 
changes of residence. In France, moreover, where the salaries 
of the deputies are on a liberal scale, it has been noted that the 
poorest constituencies are represented in parliament by the rich- 
est members.^® 

Even in certain democratic parties the assumption of official 

it as a mutual aid society." This view is estimable from the moral and 
socialist outlook, but its utterance shows that Oda Olberg has an inadequate 
understanding of the most conspicuous quality of the masses; unless it be 
that she has abandoned her Marxism, that after the Blanquist manner she 
is willing to renounce the democratic criterion of majority rule, and that 
she looks to find salvation solely from the action of a small but intelligent 

" Giolitti, replying in the year 1909 to a proposal that the Italian depu- 
ties should be salaried, expressed again and again his clear conviction that 
the payment of members would tend to weaken the repute of parliament 
throughout the country. In his view, the representative function is a free 
gift from the people (ef. Atti del Parlmnento Italiano, Camera dei Depu- 
tati, sessione 1909, Tip. della Cam. dei Dep., Eome, 1909, vol, i, pp. 518 and 
913). — In the year 1885 Bismarck, apropos of a paragraph in the Prussian 
civil code, went so far as to describe the salary paid to the members of the 
Eeichstag as " a dishonourable gain. ' ' 

^"Eugene Fourniere, op. cit., p. 109. 


positions in the party may be regarded as an honorary office, 
especially where the organization is not well supplied with means. 
Thus there not infrequently arises within the party a peculiar 
form of financial authority, since the comrades who are better 
endowed with means, gain and retain influence through the pe- 
cuniary services which they render. A plutocratic supremacy of 
this nature exists in the press of those parties which, lacking 
means for the independent maintenance of their own organs, are 
forced to depend upon the pecuniary assistance given by well-to- 
do comrades. The result, of course, is that these latter, as prin- 
cipal shareholders in the newspaper, possess a natural right of 
controlling its policy. A typical example of this is found in 
France, where for a time "I'Humanite" was supported by a syn- 
dicate of wealthy Jews. Again, in choosing delegates to the 
party congresses, the preference is often given to those who are 
able and willing to pay their own travelling expenses. In this 
way it results that the congresses, which constitute the supreme 
authority of the party, often come to be chiefly composed,, like 
the parliamentary group in certain countries, of persons who are 
comparatively well-to-do. This is what happens in Italy, France, 
Holland, etc.^'^ As far as Germany is concerned, this is less likely 
to occur, partly because very few members of the socialist party 
are well off, and partly because of the flourishing condition of 
the party finances. In Germany, therefore, the financial superi- 
ority of the rich comrade over the poor one is often replaced by 
the superiority of the rich branch. It is naturally very difficult 
for the organizations that are short of money to send delegates to 
the party congress, especially if this is held in a distant city. 
Consequently these poor branches, when they are unable to ap- 
point as delegate some one who has the time, the means, and the 
will to undertake the journey at his own expense, are compelled 
to abandon the idea of being represented at the congress. It 
should be added that public opinion within the party has often 
shown itself strongly adverse to the practice, stigmatizing the 
delegates who are appointed on these terms as ''mandataries by 
accommodation," and regarding the conferring and the accept- 
ance of such a mandate as a treason to the party and as a form 
of corruption. At the Bremen congress of 1904, in the case of 
Fehndrich, it was loudly denounced as a veritable crime.^^ Such 

"As regards France, cf. A. Jobert, Imfressions de Congres, "La Guerre 
Soeiale," anno ii, No. 45. 
^^ Protokoll, pp. 116 at seq., 265 e.t seq. Cf. also the discussion upon the 


accusations are often unjust, for more spirit of sacrifice and 
love of duty are commonly needed to induce a comrade to at- 
tend a congress at his own cost than would be the case if he had 
a week's holiday at the expense of his local branch. 

Nevertheless it remains true that as regards representation at 
party congresses, the smaller sections are in a position of serious 
inferiority. Numerous proposals have been made for the remedy 
of this state of affairs. For instance, in order to realize the 
democratic postulate of the equal representation of all districts, 
in the years 1903 and 1904. the section of Marburg proposed that 
all the costs of delegation should be defrayed by the central 
treasury. This proposal was not accepted, and consequently an- 
other attempt was made to find a remedy, and this has taken the 
form of uniting numerous local branches into provincial feder- 
ations. Thus the rules of the provincial federation of Hesse- 
Nassau contain a clause to the following effect: "Those local 
branches of the federation which are unable to pay the costs of 
delegation to the congress will draw lots every year to select 
one among their number, and the branch thus chosen will have 
the right to send a delegate to the congress at the expense of the 
federation. ' ' It may be noted in passing that five of the branches 
out of the ten of which the federation consists have to avail 
themselves of this privilege. 

A party which has a well-filled treasury is in a position, not 
only to dispense with the material aid of its comparatively af- 
fluent members, and thus to prevent the acquirement by these 
of a preponderant influence in the party, but also to provide 
itself with a body of officials who are loyal and devoted because 
they are entirely dependent on the party for their means of sub- 
sistence. Before the year 1906, when the payment of members 
was conceded by the German state, the German socialist party 
had provided the salaries of its deputies. In this way the party 
leaders, poor men for the most part, were enabled to enter 
parliament without being in a position to emancipate themselves 
from the party, or to detach themselves from the majority of 
the parliamentary group of socialists — as has happened in France 
with the formation of the group of "independent socialists." 
The French socialist party has been forced to recognize the 
danger involved in the existence of leaders who are not economi- 

Bimilar case of Lily Braun at the Munich congress of 1902 {ProtoJcoll, p. 


cally dependent on the party. In those countries in whicli the 
representatives of the people are not paid by the government nor 
salaried by the party, the danger of plutocracy arises from the 
fact that the members of parliament must necessarily be men of 
means ; but in France such a danger arises in the opposite way, 
for here not only are the deputies paid, but they are paid at the 
high rate of £600 a year. Consequently it has occurred to the 
French socialists to adopt a measure which shall at once reduce 
the financial supremacy of its representatives at the Palais 
Bourbon and provide a steady accession to the party funds, and 
they have decreed that every deputy elected under the segis of 
the party must pay over one-fifth of his salary, £120 per annum, 
to the party treasury. Many of the French socialist deputies, 
in order to elude this obligation, have simply resigned their mem- 
bership of the party. Among the causes which in the year 1905 
led to the formation of the new parliamentary socialist group, 
the so-called independent socialists, the chief was certainly the 
desire to escape this heavy tax, and to preserve intact for them- 
selves the fine round sum paid as salary by the state. Even in 
the case of the deputies who, in order to preserve their seats, 
have found it expedient to accept as a matter of principle their 
liability to the party treasury, the majority have shown little 
alacrity in the discharge of this liability. Year after year, in 
fact, at the party congresses, there have been interminable dis- 
cussions as to the means to be adopted to compel the recalci- 
trant socialist deputies to discharge their financial obligations. 
And yet (and here is one of the ironies of history) it has not 
taken long to discover that to despoil the deputies of a portion 
of their salary does not after all constitute the most efficacious 
means of preventing the formation within the party of an oli- 
garchy of plutocrats. From the report made to the congress of 
Nimes (1910) by the executive committee it appears that of the 
128,000 francs which constitute the party revenue, more than 
half, 67,250 francs to be precise, was made up by the contribu- 
tions of the socialist members of parliament.^^ Such a state of 
affairs is eminently calculated to favour the predominance of the 
deputies, who become the financial props of the party administra- 
tion, and thus are persons of importance whom the rank and file 
must treat with all possible respect. 

Speaking generally, when the manual workers become employ- 

" Letter contributed by Grumbach to the " Volksstimme " of Frankfort, 
March 1, 1910. 


ers it is not found that they are easy masters. They are prone 
to mistrust, and are extremely exacting.^o Were it not that 
these employees have as a rule abundant means of escaping from 
the influence of their many-headed masters, they would be worse 
treated — so runs the complaint — than by any private employer. 
In relation to the salaried officials, every member of the organi- 
zation considers himself a capitalist and behaves accordingly. 
Moreover, the manual workers often lack any criterion for the 
appreciation of intellectual labour. 

In Rome, many societies for co-operative production make it a 
principle to pay their commercial and technical managers on 
the same scale as their manual workers.^^ In Germany, too, for 
a long time the same tendency prevailed. At the assembly of 
the Christian miners held at Gelsenkirchen in 1898, the demand 
found expression that Brust, one of the leaders, should continue 
manual work as a miner, since otherwise he would forfeit the 
esteem of his comrades.^^ At the socialist congress held at Berlin 
in 1892 a motion was discussed for many hours in accordance 
with which no employee of the party was to be paid a salary ex- 
ceeding £125 per annum ;-^ whilst at the congress of Frankfort 
in 1894 the proposal to increase the salary of the two party sec- 
retaries by £25 had to be withdrawn, since the voting was inde- 
cisive, although the ballot was taken several times.^* For a long 
time in the German socialist party there continued to prevail the 
erroneous view that the salaries paid to the party employees, and 
even the disbursements made to propagandists on account of ex- 
penses and time lost, were a sort of gratuity, a "pourboire."^^ 

^"Cf. Heinrieh Herkner, Die Arbeit erf rage, ed. cit., p. 116; Richard Cal- 
wer, Prinzipien und Meinungsfreiheit, "Soz. Monatsh.," x (xii), fasc. 1. — ■ 
In an inquiry instituted in Italy by the General Federation of Labour con- 
cerning the wages paid to the employees of trade unions, one of the wit- 
nesses, when asked, "How are the employees paid in your union?" replied 
bitterly, "With frequent votes of censure! " (Fausto Pagliari, Le Organis- 
zazioni e i loro Impiegati, ed. cit. p. 11). — In England it has been said: 
"Socialist advocates in England are disgTacefully sweated. Heaven help 
those who throw their bread upon socialist waters; from no mundane source 
will help come" (S. G. Hobson, Boodle and Cant, "International Socialist 
Eeview," vol. ii, No. 8, p. 587). 

^ Lamberto Paoletti, Un Cimitero di Cooperative, "Giomale degli Eco- 
nomisti," September 1905, p. 266. 

^ Heinrieh Herkner, op. cit., p. 114. 

'^ProtokoU, pp. 116-131. 

''* ProtoJcoll, pp. 69 et seq. 

^ Cf . speech by Eichard Fischer at the congress of Berlin in 1892, Pro- 
tokoll, p. 127. 


In tbe case of the socialist newspapers, the editor was often 
worse paid than the business manager and even than the com- 
positors.^'' Matters have changed since then, but there always 
exists a tendency on the part of the manual workers which in- 
duces them to endeavour to keep down the salaries of the party 
officials to the level of what is paid to a factory hand. A few 
years ago a trade union passed a motion to the effect that the em- 
ployees of the union should be paid by the hour, and on the same 
scale as that which prevailed in the branch of industry to which 
they belonged as trade unionists. Even now, in fixing the sal- 
aries of their own employees, many of the comrades adopt as a 
principle that the remuneration ought to be less than that which 
is paid for the same work by capitalist employers.^^ Speaking 
generally, however, it may be said that the German working class 
is now accustomed to pay its employees liberally. This improve- 
ment is explicable, in part, from the improved financial position 
of the trade unions and of the socialist party. But there is an- 
other reason. The employees have succeeded in withdrawing the 
question of their salaries from the publicity of the congresses 
and of reserving the discussion of this question for private com- 

In France, on the other hand, the tendency among the workers 
to stint their employees has gained ground, especially of late, 
since the deputies to the Chamber have been allotted salaries of 
£600 a year. The indignation against the "Quinze Mille" 
(15,000 francs) has been so great that in many eases the man- 
ual workers have been unwilling to pay their employees in the 
trade unions more than the tenth part of this sum, the modest 
annual salary of £60.^^ During 1900-1901, the three employees 
of the Confederation Generale du Travail (the secretary, the 
treasurer, and the "organizer") received in all only 3,173 francs 
(i.e., a little over £40 a year each).^'' The two chief employees 
of the Printers' Federation receive an annual salary of £144 

^Cf. Eiehard Calwer, Bos Kommunistische Manifest und die heutige So- 
sialdemokratie, Giinther, Brunswick, 1894, p. 38; also E. Fischer, Frotolioll, 
p. 129. 

^^ Bernstein, Arbeiterbewegung, ed. cit,, pp. 142 et seq. 

"^Enquete sur la crise sindicaliste ; reponse de E. ClemcsynsTci, "Mouve- 
ment socialiste, " vol. xi, Nos. 215-216, p. 302. 

^Paul Louis, Histoire du mouvement syndical en France (1789-1906), 
!A.lean, Paris, 1907, p. 244. From March 1901 the salary of the "perma- 
nent, ' ' Georges Yvetot, was raised to 8 francs a day, £116 a year (Fernand 
Pelloutier, op. cit., p. 152). 


each, whilst the treasurer receives £48 a year. The Metalworkers 
Federation regards itself as extraordinarily liberal in engaging 
three employees at a salary of £112 per annum, and (in 1905) 
seven district secretaries at salaries of £95 each.^*' 

In Italy there has not yet come into existence a numerous gen- 
eral staff of employees salaried by the socialist party and the 
trade-union organizations. This is chiefly explicable by lack of 
funds. For many years it has been necessary to improvise sec- 
retaries, administrators, and treasurers of trade unions and local 
branches, to find them from day to day by appealing to the good- 
will and devotion of the comrades.^^ Before 1905, the Printers' 
Federation was the only one which had special employees for 
bookkeeping and for the administration of the funds.^^ Even 
to-day the life of the labour organizations is extremely rudimen- 
tary and is exposed to great vicissitudes. Of late years, indeed, 
the number of permanent employees of the federations and the 
Bourses du Travail has undergone a continuous increase, but 
these employees are still very badly paid. We are told by Rigola 
that the salary has been raised from 100 lire to 200 lire a month, 
and that "no self-respecting organization will now offer less." 
But this increase does not suffice to provide a remedy, for 200 
lire will not induce a skilled workman to abandon his trade to 
become a trade-union leader.^^ Notwithstanding this, if we are 
to believe the trade unionists, even in Italy some of the trade- 
union leaders are already manifesting that tendency to grow fat 
and idle for w^hich the leaders of the rich English labour organ- 
izations have sometimes been reproached. 

The meagreness of the salaries paid to their employees by the 
socialist party and the trade unions is not due solely to that em- 
ployers' arrogance and arbitrariness from which the working 
class is by no means exempt when it becomes an employer. Where 
the younger organizations are concerned, the trouble may arise 
simply from lack of means. Moreover, in paying at a low rate 
there is a practical end in view, the desire being that the em- 
ployees should serve for love of the cause, and not T^dth an eye 

r ■ 

3° Paul Louis, op. cit., pp. 198-9, 

^Alessandro Schiavi, 11 Nerbo delle Associasioni operaie, "Critiea So- 
ciale, " anno xv, No. 10. 

^^'Eenato Brocehi, L'Organissasione di Besistema in Italia, Libr. Editr. 
Marehigiana, Macerata, 1907, p. 137. 

'"Einaldo Kigola, I Funsionari dell' Organizsazione, <'Avanti," anno 
xiv. No. 341. 


to the material advantages attaching to their office. It was hoped 
that in this way the idealism of the leaders would be artificially 
fostered, and that it would be possible to prevent them from 
raising themselves above the social level of their proletarian com- 
rades. During the early and revolutionary period of the labour 
movement, whether economic or political, such attempts were 
made in every country of the world. The labour organizations 
have not always been satisfied with paying their employees on a 
stingy scale, but members of the party or the union have even 
been forbidden to accept the money which the state paid to those 
who became members of parliament. Among the reasons which 
in the year 1885 induced the socialists of Berlin to abstain from 
participation in the elections to the Prussian Landtag, the chief 
was the consideration that the fifteen marks a day which the 
members of this body receive would tend to lift the socialist 
members out of their class.^* 

In practice, however, the grudging payment of the leaders 
which at least in the early days of the trade-union movement was 
a deliberate policy, has proved to be a very untrustworthy safe- 
guard against possible breaches of duty. 

For the great majority of men, idealism alone is an inade- 
quate incentive for the fulfilment of duty. Enthusiasm is not 
an article which can be kept long in store. Men who will stake 
their bodies and their lives for a moment, or even for some 
months in succession, on behalf of a great idea often prove in- 
capable of permanent work in the service of the same idea even 
when the sacrifices demanded are comparatively trifling. The 
joy of self-sacrifice is comparable to a fine gold coin which can 
be spent grandly all at once, whereas if we change it into small 
coin it dribbles imperceptibly away. Consequently, even in the 
labour movement, it is necessary that the leaders should receive 
a prosaic reward in addition to the devotion of their comrades 
and the satisfaction of a good conscience. Quite early in the his- 

^ The following passage may be quoted from tlie resolution voted in this 
connection: "Finally, seeing that every member of the Prussian House 
of Eepresentatives is paid an allowance of 15 marks a day, we cannot escape 
recognizing that by participating in the elections we may be opening the 
way for a renunciation of principles, and may be creating a forcing-house 
for professonal parliamentarians (our principles are sacred to all of us 
and our representatives are men of honour, but man is a product of cir- 
cumstances, and it is better to intervene now than when it is too late ! ) " 
(Eduard Bernstein, Die Geschichte der Berliner Arieiteriewegung, Buch- 
handl. "Vorwarts," Berlin, 1907, vol. ii, p. 160). 


toiy of the organizations formed by the Italian agricultural 
workers we find in a manual written for the guidance of these 
that if the capoJega or chief of the union is to do his duty it 
would be well to pay him for his work.^^ 

For two additional reasons it is necessary that the employees 
should be adequately paid. The first of these is a moral one, 
belonging to the department of socialist ethics. The labourer is 
worthy of his hire. In Marxist terminology, the worker who does 
not receive pay correspondent to the social value of his work is 
being exploited. The other reason belongs to the sphere of prac- 
tical politics. To pay the leaders poorly as a matter of principle 
is dangerous precisely because it stakes everything upon the 
single card of idealism, Eduard Bernstein is right in contend- 
ing that underpayment leads to corruption and demoralization.^^ 
The leader who is poorly paid is more likely to succumb to temp- 
tation, more likely to betray the party for gain, than one who, 
being well paid, finds in his occupation a safe and sufficient in- 
come. Moreover, the payment of the leaders at a low rate ren- 
ders difficult the application of another preventive means against 
the establishment of an oligarchy, for it hinders frequent changes 
in the personnel of the leading employees, and thus indirectly 
favours the formation of an oligarchy. In France, where it is 
still the rule to pay the trade-union leaders very small salaries, 
there is lacking a new generation of leaders ready to take the 
place of the old, and for this reason at the trade-union congresses 
the same members continually appear as delegates.^'' 

If, however, the non-payment of the party leaders or their 
remuneration on a very moderate scale does not afford any safe- 
guard for the observance of democratic principles on the part of 
the officials, we have on the other hand to remember that an in- 
crease in the financial strength of the party, which first renders 
liberal payment of the officials possible, contributes greatly to 
nourish the dictatorial appetites of the members of the party 
bureaucracy, who control the economic forces of the party in 
virtue of their position as administrators. In the history of 
Christianity we learn that as the wealth of the Church increased, 
there increased also the independence of the clergy, of the ec- 
clesiastical employees, vis-a-vis the community. As representa- 

^Egidio Bernaroli, op. cit., p. 27. 

*« Eduard Bernstein, Die DcnwJcratie in der SozialdenwlcraUe, "Sozial. 
Monatsh.," September 3, 1908, p. 1108. 
^^ E. Clemczynski, op. cit., p. 301. 


tives of the comnninity they were in charge of the goods. Con- 
sequently all those who had need of these goods, or wished in 
any way to speculate upon them, were dependent upon the 
clergy. This applied not only to mendicants and to all kinds 
of receivers of alms, but also to those whose aim it was to swell 
the ranks of the clergy, or to succeed to the positions of these, 
all aspirants to sacerdotal honours. For the administration of 
the funds and for the conduct of affairs^, Christianity needed a 
graded corps of employees. This was the origin of the hierarchy 
which changed the inner meaning of Christianity and perverted 
its aims. A similar danger is encountered by all democratic 
parties which possess an elaborate financial administration.^^ 
This danger is especially marked in the case of the German so- 
cialist party, whose central organization in the year 1908 em- 
ployed merely in its printing office 298 persons,^'* and all of these, 
having no share whatever in the net profits, nor any rights in the 
management of the social property, depend upon the party just 
ias they might depend upon any ordinary private employer. In 
the hands of the party bureaucracy are the periodical press, the 
publication and sale of the party literature, and the enrolment 
of orators in the list of paid propagandists. All these sources of 
income can at any time be closed to undesirable competitors or to 
dissatisfied members of the rank and file, and this power is uti- 
lized in actual practice.^*^ The concentration of power in those 

^This danger has been recognized by Ettore Cieeotti, notwithstanding 
the optimist tendency of his views on the relationship of the leaders to the 
masses. Cf. Psicologia del Movimento socialista, ed. eit., p. 127. 
I ^' Eduard Bernstein, Die Natur und die Wirliungen der capitalistiscJie 
'' Wirtscliaftsordnung, Buchhandlung ' ' Vorwarts, ' ' Berlin, 1909, p. 12. 

*" During the struggle between the party leaders and the so-called ' ' Jung- 
en," the executive committee forbade the sale in the bookshops of the 
party of works by Dr. Bruno Wille (youthful writings and poems), since 
Wille himself belonged to the opposing faction, although the work in ques- 
tion was not written to voice the views of the opposition. In defence of the 
leaders' action Eichard Fischer, a member of the executive, wrote to Wille 
under date November 6, 1891: "Our party is no mere vague ideal com- 
munity, but a practical body, with such and such organs. However little 
we are inclined to exclude from intellectual participation any one from 
the realm of Cuckoo Cloudland, the party has to take every care that within 
the framework of the organization its adherents yield to the will of the 
community in matters of tactics and discipline. One who will not submit 
himself to these principles of subordination, and who combines with others 
who are declared to be unworthy to belong to this organization, in order 
to work against the party, renounces ipso facto all claim to make use of the 
organs and of the advantages which the organisation has created and 


parties which preach the Marxist doctrine is more conspicuous 
than the concentration of capital predicted by Marx in economic 
life. For some years past the leaders of the German socialist 
party have employed numerous methods of oppression, such as 
the threat to give no aid either in men or money on behalf of 
the electoral propaganda of a candidate from whose views they 
dissent, although the local comrades give this candidate their 
full confidence. It is hardly necessary to say that such a prac- 
tice as this accords ill with the principles of liberty and frater- 
nity.*^ In this way have come into existence strict relationships 
of dependence, of hierarchical superiority and inferiority, engen- 
dered by the invisible force of the great god Money, and this 
within the bosom of the working-class party which has taken as 
its motto Blanqui 's phrase, ni Dieu ni Maitre. 

Brief allusion may be made in conclusion to another kind of 
economic pressure which labour organizations are able to exer- 
cise. Publicans whose houses are frequented chiefly or exclu- 
sively by members of the working class, or small shopkeepers 
whose customers consist mainly of working women, are indirectly 
if not directly dependent, in the economic sense, upon the party 
and upon the trade union. They are dependent, that is to say, 
upon the leading personalities in these organizations, who, by 
declaring a boycott, can involve them in absolute ruin. 

which it safeguards for its mevibers. One of these organs is our book- 
selling business, and consequently it was a matter of course that we came 
to the decision of which you complain" (Hans Miiller, Der Elassenlcariipf 
in der deutschen demoTcratie, Verlagsmagazin J. SchabeHtz, Zurich, 1892, 
p. 119). Cf. also a speech made by Von Elm at the Mannheim congress 
of 1906 (Protol'oll, p. 300). — The pecuniary effect of such a boycott as that 
of Wille's book is naturaUy greater in proportion as all the workers have 
become accustomed to accept only such intellectual nutriment as has 
been oflfieially prepared in the party kitchens and is guaranteed as thor- 
oughly wholesome. Above all, then, this applies to .Germany. 
^^ .Wolfgang Heine, op. cit., p. 283. 



The press constitutes a potent instrument for the conquest, tlie 
preservation, and the consolidation of power on the part of the 
leaders. The press is the most suitable means of diffusing the 
fame of the individual leaders among the masses, for populariz- 
ing their names. The labour press, and this applies equally to 
the trade-union journals and to those which devote themselves 
predominantly to political ends, is full of panegyrics concern- 
ing the personalities of the leaders, of references to their * ' disin- 
terestedness and self-sacrificingness, " to their ''ardent idealism, 
conjoined with a vigorous force of conviction and with invincible 
tenacity," qualities which, we are told^ have alone made it pos- 
sible for them to create the great working-class organizations.^ 
Such flattering phrases as are from time to time used of the so- 
cialist leaders by the capitalist press (mostly dictated by mo- 
tives of electoral opportunism) are complacently reproduced by 
socialist journals, and whether taken at par value or not they 
serve, by their diffusion among the socialist rank and file, to in- 
crease the prestige of the leaders.^ 

*Cf. the article entitled Z>ie Gewerkschaften BeutscJilands in the "Schwa- 
bisehe Tagwacht," anno xxvii, No. 191 (Au^st 17, 1907). 

^ A typical example of this is furnished by an article Lob aus gegnerischen 
Mwnde [Praise from the Enemy] which was circulated among the electors 
of Giessen apropos of an election to the diet, and from which the following 
passages may be quoted. "Now that the elections to the diet are ap- 
proaching, we may remind our readers that the activity of our comrades 
in the Diet of Hesse has been recognized and praised by the leading 
organ of the national liberals. Six years ago, just before the then elec- 
tions, an article was published in the 'Kolnische Zeitung,' dealing with' 
the conditions in Hesse and the parties in the diet, judging these last from 
a thoroughly objective standpoint. The writer, who was obviously well 
acquainted with his subject, opened by a strongly adverse criticism of 
the leaders of his own party, the national liberals, who were then pre- 
dominant in the Hessian diet. Turning them to consider our comrades, he 
continued: 'The Hessian social democrats in the diet are remarkable men. 
Not only do they work very hard, indeed harder than all others, in the 
fulfilment of their parliamentary duties, but they often play a leading 



It is true that the press cannot exert the immediate influence '^ 
which the popular propagandist exercises over his audience in 
public meetings, debates, and party congresses.^ In compensa- 
tion for this defect, however, the circle of influence of the writ- 
ten word is far more extensive. The press can be used with 
effect to influence public opinion by cultivating a "sensation" — 
a point in which modern party democracy exhibits a fundamental 
trait which it shares with Bonapartism. This means is fre- 
quently employed by the leaders in order to gain or to retain 
the sympathy of the masses, and to enable them to keep the guid- 
ance of the movement in their own hands. The democratic press 

part. Many members of the constitutional parties would do well to 
take example at the manner in which the socialist locksmith Ulrich of 
Offenbach performed his duties as secretary of the finance committee, the 
way in which he examined the demand for universities and schools, showing 
himself as a rule to be the most zealous and the most friendly to the 
government of all those who desire to favour a progressive culture. He 
was supported in this activity by his colleague Dr. David, who, although 
his views are somewhat more doctrinaire and Utopian, none the less greatly 
excels most of the representatives in point of general culture. Such' 
socialists as these are all the more dangerous because of their moderation, 
and it is not surprising that they have to be reckoned with.' Again, 
'Strongly in contrast with the socialists are the antisemites and the 
peasant-leagues, for these have always displayed themselves as the bitter- 
est enemies of the government; they are incapable of being influenced by 
reason, utterly unteachable, rude blusterers, unpractical and barren poli- 
ticians, insanely particularist, and often, positively ludicrous. ....'" 
("Mitteldeutsehe Sonntagszeitung, " xii. No. 46). The article concludes 
with a vigorous appeal to the electors to vote for the socialist candidates, 
because of all the parties the socialist is the one most friendly to the 
(Grand Ducal government! 

^ The powerful stimulus which the personality of Singer exercised over 
the masses was described by Kurt Eisner in the following terms: "With 
a sort of jovial energy and with a never failing sureness of touch he 
knew how to tame and to lead the rude multitude. . . . Specially remark- 
able was Singer in the small official speeches, in the ' addresses to the throne ' 
with which he was accustomed to conclude the labours of the 'socialist | 
parliamentary session.' Then it became apparent how importance is con- 
ferred upon the individual by the greatness of the cause in which he 
is as it were rooted. Naturally in such addresses he did not rise above 
that level of daily commonplace which is appropriate to aU official utter- 
ances, but he knew so well how to polish his phrases until they shone; his 
voice, almost completely losing its Berlin twang, then rose to its full 
strength ; pale words and anaemic emotion became transfused with red blood ; 
and he always closed with some word of power, with one of those turns 
of phrase intermediate between the trivial and the sublime, which are 
characteristic of the gifted public speaker" (Kurt Eisner, Taggeist, 
Kulturglossen, Dr. John Edelheim Verlag, Berlin, 1901, pp. 107-108). 


is also utilized by the leaders in order to make attacks (more or 
less masked) upon their adversaries; or to launch grave accusa- 
tions against persons of note in the world of politics or finance. 
These attacks may or may not be established upon a sufficient 
foundation of proof, but at any rate they serve to raise a dust- 
storm.* Sometimes, again^ the leaders endeavour to ingratiate 
themselves with the masses by employing in respect of their capi- 
talist opponents, coarse and insulting language which recalls the 
proverbial "Billingsgate." All means are good to the popular- 
ity-hunter, and he varies them to suit his environment. 

The manner in which the leaders make use of the press to se- 
cure their domination naturally varies from one country to an- 
other in accordance with variation in national customs. "Where 
the party organization and the force at its disposal are still weak, 
the influence of the leaders is direct and personal. The conse- 
quence is that in France, in England, and in Italy, where the 
popular character still presents a strongly individual stamp, the 
democratic leader presents himself as personally responsible for 
what he writes, and signs his articles in full. An article which 
appears in ''Le Socialiste" in Paris will attract attention, not so 
much on account of its own merits, but because at the foot it 
displays in large type the signature of a Jules Guesde. The 
leader imposes his influence upon the masses directly, manifest- 
ing his opinion openly, often giving it the form of a decree, pub- 
lished in the most conspicuous part of the paper. From the 
£esthetic and ethical points of view, this is, moreover, the best 
form of journalism, for the reader has a right to know the source 
of the wares which are offered him, and this altogether apart 
from the consideration that to all public activity there should be 
applied the fundamental moral principle that each one is respon- 
sible to all for his conduct. For the aspirants to leadership, 
again, the practice of signing newspaper articles has the incon- 
testable advantage that it makes their names known to the 

*In the winter of 1904 "Vorwarts" came out with the sensational 
news of alleged homosexual misconduct at Capri on the part of Frederick 
Krupp, of Essen. Shortly afterwards the same journal published details 
of a plan which the emperor was supposed to have drawn up with his 
own hand for the construction in Berlin of a fortified castle for defence 
against the workers. In the winter of 1905, "Avanti" published at- 
tacks upon the personal and official honour of Admiral Bettolo, Minister of 
Marine — attacks which some years later, when they had attained their 
end, were withdrawn by the editor-in-chief, Enrico Ferri. Similar examples 
could be quoted by hundreds from the socialist press. 


masses, and this facilitates tlieir gradual rise in the scale of rep- 
resentative honours until they attain to the highest. 

In other countries, as for instance in Germany, the faith of 
the masses in authority is so robust that it does not require to be 
sustained by the prestige of a few conspicuous individualities. 
Hence journalism is here almost always anonymous. The indi- 
vidual contributor disappears behind the editorial staff. The 
journal does not serve to diffuse the writers' names far and wide, 
and regular readers are often totally ignorant of the individuali- 
ties of the staff. This explains the comparative unimportance of 
the personal role played by German publicists when compared 
with those of most other countries ; it explains their small part 
in public life, and the trifling social consideration they enjoy. 
But this must not be taken to mean that the anonymous press 
fails to serve the leaders as an instrument of domination. Since 
the German journalist is identified with the whole editorial staff, 
and even with the entire party, the result is that his voice ap- 
peals to the public with the entire force of this collective author- 
ity, flis personal ideas thus acquire a prominence and attain 
an influence which would otherwise be lacking.^ What the indi- 
vidual member of the staff loses through his anonymity, in respect 
of direct influence upon the masses, is gained by the journalist 
leaders as a group. The editorial ' ' we, ' ' uttered in the name of 
a huge party, has a much greater effect than even the most dis- 
tinguished name. The ''party," that is to say the totality of 
the leaders, is thus endowed with a special sanctity, since the 
crowd forgets that behind an article which thus presents itself 
under a collective aspect there is concealed in the great majority 
of cases but one single individual. In Germany it is not difficult 
to observe that the anonymous polemical and other articles of 
"Vorwarts," the central organ of the party, are regarded by 
the rank and file, and especially in Prussia, as a sort of periodical 
gospel, as a Bible in halfpenny numbers. It is more especially for 
the publication of violent personal attacks that anonjmious jour- 
nalism furnishes convenient and almost tempting opportunities, 
guaranteeing moral and legal impunity. Behind the shelter thus 

''In order to avoid this danger a portion of the German socialist press 
seeks to render the personality of its writers distinguishable by having 
the articles signed by one or more initials, whose significance is known at 
any rate to an inner circle of initiates. Unfortunately this prophylactic 
measure is not extended to those official journalistic utterances which are 
apt to contain the most venomous attacks upon certain members of the party. 


afforded by anonymity those of base and cowardly nature are apt 
to lurk in order that they may launch thence in safety their 
poisoned arrows against their personal or political adversaries. 
The victim of aggression is thus for four separate reasons placed 
in a position of inferiority. The rank and file consider the cen- 
sure which has been expressed against him as having been ut- 
tered in the name of a principle or a class^ as emanating from 
a superior and impersonal region, and as consequently of an 
extremely serious character and practically indelible. On the 
other hand, the whole editorial staff feels itself responsible for 
what has been published, for the anonymous article is regarded 
as published with the unanimous consent of the collectivity ; the 
result is that the whole staff makes common cause with the ag- 
gressor, and this renders it almost impossible to secure any 
reparation for the wrong which has been committed. Further, 
the person attacked does not know who is the aggressor, whereas 
if he knew the latter 's name he might be able to understand the 
motives for the attack instead of being forced to fight a shadow. 
Finally, if he is by chance able to unveil the personality of the 
aggressor, journalistic etiquette forbids him to undertake his 
defence on lines directed against the aggressor individually, and 
he is thus deprived of one of the most efficient methods of de- 
fence. It recently happened that a writer in the German social- 
ist press, who had attacked another member of the party, when 
this latter made a reply which unquestionably demanded a re- 
joinder, refused to continue the discussion because the person 
attacked had addressed his reply, not to the editorial staff gen- 
erally, but "to one single member of that staff," who was in 
fact the aggressor. The reason given for this refusal was that in 
thus replying to an individual instead of to the staff the second 
writer had "infringed the most elementary decencies of party 

The obliteration of personality in German journalism has 
favoured the institution, in connection with the socialist press of 
that country, of what are known as "correspondence bureaux." 
These organizations, which are managed by some of the writers 
of the party, transmit every day to the socialist press informa- 
tion relating to special branches, such as foreign politics, coopera- 
tive questions, and legislative problems. The bureaux owe their 
origin in great part to the spirit of intense economy which domi- 

«" Frankfurter Volksstimme, " 1909, No. 175. 


nates the party press. They confer upon this press a stamp of 
great uniformity, since dozens of newspapers receive their in- 
spiration from the same source^ Further, they insure the su- 
premacy of a small closed group of official journalists over the 
independent writers — a supremacy which is manifested chiefly 
in the economic sphere, since those who write for the correspond- 
ence bureaux seldom play any notable part in the political life 
of the party. 

In all cases the press remains in the hands of the leaders and 
is never controlled by the rank and file. There is often inter- 
calated between the leaders and the mass an intermediate stratum 
of press commissaries who are delegated by the rank and file 
to exercise a certain supervision over the editorial staff. In the 
most favourable circumstances, however, these functionaries can- 
not aspire to more than a very small share of power, and consti- 
tute merely a sort of inopportune and untechnical supplementary 
government. Speaking broadly it may be said that it is the 
paid leaders who decide all the political questions which have to 
do with the press.^ 

^Cf. Heinrich Strobel, Ein sosidlistisches Echo?, "Neue Zeit," anno 
xxvii, vol. ii. No. 45. 

« Cf . supra, pp. 24, 25, 26, 39-40. 



In the political organizations of the international proletariat, 
the highest order of the leaders consists chiefly of members of 
parliament. In proof of this it suffices to mention the names of 
a few men who were or are the most distinguished socialist 
leaders of their day, and at the same time men of note as par- 
liamentarians : Bebel, Jaures, Guesde, Adler, Vandervelde, Troel- 
stra, Turati, Keir Hardie, Macdonald, Pablo Iglesias. Hyndman 
is an exception only because he has never succeeded in winning 
an election. The section of the English party to which he be- 
longs is unrepresented in parliament. 

The fact here noted indicates the essentially parliamentary 
character of the modern socialist parties. The socialist members 
of parliament are those who have especially distinguished them- 
selves in the party by their competence and by their capacity. 
But in addition to this superiority, recognized and consecrated 
by the party itself, there are two reasons for the great authority 
exercised by the socialist parliamentarian. In the first place, 
in virtue of his position, he largely escapes the supervision of 
the rank and file of the party, and even the control of its execu- 
tive committee. He owes his comparative independence to the 
fact that the parliamentary representative is elected for a con- 
siderable term of years, and can be dispossessed by no one so long 
as he retains the confidence of the electors. In the second place, 
and even at the moment of his election, his dependence on the 
party is but indirect, for his power is derived from the electoral 
masses, that is to say, in ultimate analysis from an unorganized 
body. It is true that in certain countries the independence of 
the party organization thus enjoyed by the parliamentary depu- 
ties is subject to limits more or less strict according to the degree 
of organization and cohesion of the party. But even then the 
respect and the power enjoyed by the parliamentarians remain 
unquestioned, since it is they who within the party fill the prin- 
cipal offices, and whose power predominates to a notable degree 



in the party executive. This is true, above all, of Germany.^ 
Where the rules forbid the deputy to function also as a member 
of the executive committee (in Italy, for example, only one dep- 
uty, chosen by the parliamentary group, can sit on the party 
executive), 2 much friction is apt to arise between the two groups 
of leaders, impairing the authority of both. But, for the reasons 
expounded above, the influence of the parliamentary group com- 
monly predominates. 

The influence of parliamentarism is particularly great in the 
German social democracy. This is clearly shown by the attitude 
towards the party commonly assumed by the socialists in parlia- 
ment. There is no other socialist party in the world in which 
the conduct of its representatives in parliament is subject to so 
little criticism. The socialist members of the Reichstag fre- 
quently make speeches in that body which might be expected to 
give rise to the liveliest recriminations, and yet neither in the 
party press nor at the congresses is to be heard a word of crit- 
icism or of disapproval, ©uring the discussions in the Reichstag 
concerning the miners' strike in the basin of the Ruhr (1905), 
the deputy Hue spoke of the maximum programme of the party 
as " Utopian/' and in the socialist press there was manifested 
no single symptom of revolt. On the first occasion on which the 
party departed from its principle of unconditional opposition to 
all military expenditure, contenting itself with simple abstention 
when the first credit of 1,500,000 marks was voted for the war 
against the Hereros, this remarkable innovation, which in every 
other socialist party would have unquestionably evoked a storm 
from one section of the members, even if there might have been 
manifested cheerful approval by another, aroused among the 
German socialists no more than a few dispersed and timid pro- 
tests. Subsequently, at the Bremen congress of 1904, when the 
deputies had to give an account of their conduct, very few dele- 
gates were found to express disapproval. It is, further, remark- 
able to what a degree the power of the parliamentary group be- 
comes consolidated as the party increases throughout the country. 

^In France, until 1914, the right of the deputies to enter the executive 
committee of the socialist party was restricted by the rules, but in the be- 
ginning of that year the restrictions were relaxed, enabling the deputies 
to exercise a predominant influence in the councils of the party. 

* Two deputies may be members of the executive committee if one of these 
two is chairman of the central organization, and thus ex officio member 
of the executive. 


In earlier days, far less important questions aroused mueli more 
acute struggles between the party and the parliamentary group. 
,To-day, the socialist masses in Germany have accustomed them- 
selves to the idea that the decisive struggle on behalf of the aims 
they have at heart will be carried out in parliament, and for this 
reason they scrupulously avoid doing anything which might make 
difficulties for their parliamentary representatives. This con- 
viction constantly determines the conduct of the masses in rela- 
tion to their leaders. Hence in many questions the conduct of 
the parliamentary group is really decisive, suprema lex. All vig- 
orous criticism, though made in accordance with the basic prin- 
ciples of socialism, is at once repudiated by the rank and file if it 
tends to weaken the position of the parliamentary group. Those 
who, notwithstanding this, venture to voice such criticism are 
immediately put to silence and are severely stigmatized by the 
leaders. Two examples may be given in illustration. The ' ' Leip- 
ziger Volkszeitung, " in the year 1904, in a leading article en- 
titled The Usury of Bread, vented its anger in somewhat violent 
terms upon the political leaders of the capitalist parties. There- 
upon in the Eeichstag certain orators of the right and of the 
centre, when Prince Biilow had himself read this article to the 
house, adducing it as an evil example of journalistic methods, 
made a great display of indignation against the socialists. When 
this happened, Bebel, who had hitherto been a declared friend of 
the "Leipziger Volkszeitung," did not hesitate to repudiate the 
article in open parliament, though his conduct was here in fla- 
grant contradiction with the best established traditions of democ- 
racy, and with the essential principle of party solidarity.* At 
the congress of Bremen in 1904, Georg von VoUmar openly con- 
demned the first attempts at anti-militarism made in Germany 
by certain members of the party. He did this with the express 

'It is true that the early history of the German socialist party con- 
tains one or two precedents for Bebel 's action. In 1881, Hasenclever 
and Bios made use of certain expressions in the Eeichstag which amounted 
to a disavowal of the central party organ of that day, the "Sozialdemo- , 
krat. " Still better known is the dispute between the parliamentary group ■ 
and the "Sozialdemokrat" of Zurich apropos of the debate concerning the 
Steamship Subsidy in 1885, in the course of which the group published a j 
declaration to the effect that the party organ must in no case set itself j 
in opposition to the group, while the group was responsible for the party 
press: "It is not the journal which has to determine the conduct of the 
parliamentary group, but the latter which has to control the journal" . 
(Franz Mehring, op. cit., vol. iv, pp. 214 and 267). 


approval of most of the delegates and without arousing any dis- 
approval from the others. Yet anti-militarism is a logical con- 
sequence of socialism, and for such a party as the socialist, anti- 
militarist propaganda must surely be a matter of primary im- 
portance. Vollmar, however^ justified his attitude by remarking 
that if a systematic anti-militarist propaganda were to be un- 
dertaken, the Minister of War would have a pretext ready to his 
hand for disregarding all the protests and complaints which 
might be made by the socialist deputies on account of the dif- 
ferential treatment of soldiers known to hold socialist views. 
If, for example, the party representatives in parliament were to 
take action against the secret inquiries which the authorities are 
accustomed to make and to transmit to the district commanders, 
sending in the names of recruits who before enlistment have 
been in the habit of frequenting socialist meetings and have 
even been known as local leaders, the minister could readily 
reply, and with effect, that socialists, being anti-militarists, are 
enemies of their country and as such deserve to be handled with 
all possible rigour. Volhnar concluded by saying: "Anti- 
militarist propaganda will make it impossible for the socialists 
in parliament to continue to assert that socialists fulfil their mili- 
tary duties no less patriotically than non-socialists, and that for 
this reason it is unjust to subject them to exceptional treat- 

It is well known that great efforts have been made by the par- 
liamentary socialist groups in every country to secure for their 
members ex-officio the right to vote at the party congresses. In 
Germany this right was recognized in 1890 by the congress of 
Berlin, with the unimportant restriction that in questions con- 
cerning their parliamentary activities the rights of the members 
of the group in congress should be purely deliberative. Despite 
some opposition, this right was confirmed in the new rules of 
the party which were passed at the Jena congress in 1905, It 
is obvious that the deputy, even if he does not as such possess the 
right to vote, will not find much difficulty in securing delegation 
to the congress. Auer once said that those deputies who were 
not thus delegated must be poor fellows indeed.^ Nevertheless 

; * ProtoJcoll des Parteitags su Bremen, p, 186. 

" " In any case, since, in view of their responsibilities to the party, their 
presence at the congress may be indispensable, it should not be made 
necessary for them to go about begging for a mandate" {ProtoTcoll des 
Parteitags su Berlin, 1890, p. 122). 


they have been saved this trifling trouble. Thus the members 
of the parliamentary group are admitted to an active partici- 
pation in the most intimate deliberations of the party, not as 
delegates approved by a vote of the branch to which they belong, 
but as representatives of the entire electorate of their constit- 
uency for the whole period for which they are elected to the leg- 
islature. This involves an express recognition of their position 
as leaders (and a further admission that this leadership owes its 
origin in part to non-party sources), and obviously raises them 
to the position of super-comrades independent of the rank and 
file of the party, or makes them irremovable delegates for so long 
as they may remain members of the Eeichstag. This institu- 
tion is certainly peculiar to Germany. In other countries iden- 
tical rules apply for the appointment of all delegates to the con- 
gress, whether these may happen to be parliamentary representa- 
tives or not.® In France and Holland, for instance, the deputies 
can take part in the congresses, and are able to vote in these only 
if they are specially delegated for the purpose. In Italy, the 
members of the executive committee and the members of the 
parliamentary group cannot speak in the congress unless they 
are charged by the executive committee to present a report of 
some kind. In Italy, as in France and Holland, they can vote 
only when regularly delegated. 

Yet in view of their greater competence in various questions, 
the socialist parliamentary groups consider themselves superior 
even to the congresses, which are in theory the supreme courts 
of the party, and they claim an effective autonomy. The mem- 
bers of the parliamentary group obey a natural tendency to re- 
strict more and more the circle of questions which must be sub- 
mitted to the congress for decision, and to make themselves the 
sole arbiters of the party destinies. In Germany, many of the 
socialist deputies put forward a claim in 1903 to decide for them- 
selves, independently of the party congresses, whether the par- 
liamentary group should or should not accept the vice-presidency 
of the Reichstag for one of its members, and whether, if this post 
were accepted, the socialist vice-president should conform to the 
usage attaching to this office, and put in appearances at court.'^ 

^*'Avanti," No. 3433, Nevertheless, in these other countries the lead- 
ing roles in the socialist congresses are played by the parliamentary repre- 

' This claim was endorsed by certain aspirants to parliamentary honours 
who had recently failed to secure election. Bebel wrote ironically in 


In Italy, the socialist and the republican parliamentary groups 
have secured complete independence of the executives of their 
respective parties. The socialist group has even been accused at 
times of accepting deputies who are not even regular members 
of the party, men who contend that their electors would look 
askance should they adhere officially to the local socialist organi- 

The parliamentary leaders of the socialist as well as those of 
the capitalist parties assume the right to constitute a closed cor- 
poration, cut off from the rest of their party.^ The parlia- 
mentary group of the German socialists has on more than one 
occasion, and of its own initiative, disavowed the actions of con- 
siderable sections of the party. The most notable of such dis- 
avowals have been those of the article The Usury of Bread, in the 
"Leipziger Volkszeitung" (1904)/ and that of the anti-militarist 
agitation of Karl Liebknecht (1907). In the former instance, 
the "Leipziger Volkszeitung" could very well console itself for 
the disapproval of the "fifty-seven comrades" (i.e. the members 
of the parliamentary group) as that of an infinitesimal minority 
of the party — in accordance with the historic and typically dem- 
ocratic utterance of the Abbe Sieyes on the eve of the French 
Eevolution, when he said that the rights of the king bore to 

this connection: "Eemarkable logic! If H. had secured a seat at the 
last election he would have regarded himself as competent to decide upon 
this question. But since he has been beaten at the polls he is incompetent. 
One must therefore be elected deputy in order to secure the necessary 
mental illumination." 

* " In this atmosphere of bourgeois parliamentarism, which is so foreign 
to the essential nature of socialism, the social democracy, involuntarily 
and unconsciously, has assumed many of the customs of this parliamentarism 
which harmonize ill with the democratic characteristics of socialism. In 
the writer's view, the appearance of the parliamentary group as a closed 
corporation (not merely vis-a-vis the capitalist parties, which is necessary, 
but also vis-a-vis our own party) is such a development of bourgeois parlia- 
mentarism, and may lead to grave inconveniences" (Rosa Luxemburg, 
Sozialreform oder Eevolution? Appendix, Miliz und Militarisrmis, ed. of 
the "Leipziger Volkszeitung," Leipzig, 1899, p. 75). 

*The declaration made by the party executive in the affair of the **Leip- 
ziger Volkszeitung" begins as follows: "On Saturday, the 10th inst., when, 
after the speech of comrade von Vollmar, the Imperial Chancellor brought 
up for discussion the subject of the article in the 'Leipziger Volkszeitung' 
of December 2nd, those members of the parliamentary group who were 
present agreed to instruct comrade Bebel to state in his speech that the 
group regretted the publication of this article and repudiated responsibility 
for it." 


those of his subjects the ratio of 1 : 30,000,000. As a matter of 
pure theory, and considering the democratic principles of the 
party, the paper here hit the right nail on the head ; but in prac- 
tice its contention had no significance, for to the ineffective right 
of principle there was opposed the right of the stronger, imma- 
nent in the leadership. 

The local branches of the party follow their deputies. In the 
congresses the great majority of the delegates accept as a matter 
of habit the guidance of the men of note.^° At the Bremen con- 
gress in 1904 the German socialists rejected the idea of the gen- 
eral strike as a general absurdity; at Jena, in 1905, they ac- 
claimed it as an official weapon of the party ; at Mannheim, in 
1906, they declared it to be Utopian. All the individual phases 
of this zigzag progress were hailed with the conscientious ap- 
plause of the mass of the delegates in the congress and of the 
comrades throughout the country, who exhibited on each occa- 
sion the same lack of critical faculty and the same unthinking 
enthusiasm. In France, the little handful of men who consti- 
tuted the general staff of the French Marxists when these stiU 
formed a separate party under the leadership of Jules Guesde 
was so permeated with the authoritarian spirit that at the party 
congresses the executive committee (Comite National) was not 
elected in due form, but was appointed en hloc by acclamation ; ^^ 

^* Cramer, deputy to the Hessian diet, in his report concerning a divisional 
conference in the Grand Duchy, deplores the comparatively slight demo- 
cratic value which the party congresses have for the mass of the delegates, 
and how little these assert themselves in opposition to the despotic con- 
duct of the leaders. "In the press of business" a proposal sent in before 
the opening of the session that the conference should last for two days 
instead of one was completely ignored. "I feel compelled to say that the 
propagandist value of the last conference must be regarded as infinitesimal. 
The work was done in such a hurry, freedom of debate was suppressed 
so roughly by the chair, and there were so many other disagreeable features, 
that the conference was in truth a painful spectacle" ("Mainzer Volks- 
zeitung, " September 16, 1903). 

*^This practice continues to the present day in the Unified French 
Socialist party. At the Amiens congress in January 1914, the election 
of the executive committee (Commission Administrative Permanente) was 
postponed until the very end of the congress, when a large proportion of 
the delegates had already left and when those who remained were tired out. 
The re-election en hloc of the executive was then proposed, with the sub- 
stitution of one name for that of Francis de Pressense, recently deceased, 
and the most important administrative act of the congress was thus effected 
under conditions which made any discussion of the personnel of the execu- 
tive quite impossible. 


it was impossible for the chiefs to conceive that the rank and 
file of the party could dream of refusing to follow their leaders. 
Moreover, the congi-esses were conducted m camera}'^ Eeports 
were published in an extremely condensed form so that no one 
could check the speakers. In the German socialist congresses, and 
in the reports of these assemblies, it is easy to distinguish between 
a higher and a lower circle of delegates. The report of what is 
said by the ''ordinary" delegates is greatly abbreviated,^^ whilst 
the speeches of the big guns are reproduced verbatim. In the 
party press, too, different measures are applied to the comrades. 
In the year 1904^ when "Vorwarts," then edited by Eisner, did 
not publish a letter sent by Bebel, the latter moved heaven and 
earth with his complaints, saying that freedom of opinion was 
being suppressed in the party and that it was "the most ele- 
mentary right" for all the comrades to have their letters printed 
in the party organs. Yet it is hardly possible to ignore that the 
"right" which Bebel thus invoked is in practice proportional to 
a comrade's degree of elevation in the party. The excitement 
over the non-appearance of Bebel 's letter shows that his case 
was an exceptional one. 

In the trade-union movement, the authoritative character of 
the leaders and their tendency to rule democratic organizations 
on oligarchic lines, are even more pronounced than in the polit- 
ical organizations.^* 

Innumerable facts recorded in the history of trade-union or- 
ganizations show to what an extent centralized bureaucracy can 
divert from democracy a primarily democratic working-class 
movement. In the trade union, it is even easier than in the polit- 
ical labour organization, for the officials to initiate and to pursue 
a course of action disapproved of by the majority of the workers 
they are supposed to represent. It suffices here to refer to the 
two famous decisions of the trade-union congress at Cologne in 
1905. In one of these the leaders declared themselves to be 

"Georges Sorel, Dove va il marxismo?, "Eivista Critica del Socialismo, " 
i, p. 16 (1889). 

"Eduard David, Falction und Parteitag, "Vorwarts, " anno xxii, No. 

" " In the socialist party, owing to the nature of the matters with which 
it has to deal and owing to the characteristics of the political struggle, 
narrower limits are imposed upon bureaucracy than in the case of the 
trade-union movement" (Rosa Luxemburg, Massenstreik, Partei, und 
GewerTcschaften, ed. cit., p. 61). This cautious expression of the differ- 
ences may be accepted. 


opposed (in opposition to the views of the majority) to the con- 
tinued observance of the 1st of May as a general labour demon- 
stration of protest. In the second, the discussion of the general 
strike was absolutely forbidden. By these and similar occur- 
rences the oligarchical practices of the leaders are sufficiently 
proved, although some writers continue to dispute the fact.^^ 

For a good many years now, the executive committees of the 
trade-union federations have endeavoured to usurp the exclusive 
right to decide on behalf of the rank and file the rhythm of the 
movement for better wages, and consequently the right to decide 
whether a strike is or is not ' ' legitimate. ' ' ^^ Since the leaders 
of the federation are in charge of the funds, which often amount 
to a considerable sum, the dispute reduces itself in practice to a 
question as to vvho is to decide whether a strike shall or shall not 
be subsidized.^^ This question is one which involves the very life 
of the democratic right of the organized masses in the trade 
unions to regulate their own affairs. "When the leaders claim 
that they alone have a right to decide in a matter of such impor- 
tance, and still more when they already largely possess this right, 

^^Heinrich Strobel, for instance, a writer on the staff of ''Vorwarts. " 
"We at least do not believe that the majority of trade-union members 
favour tactics differing from those pursued by the trade-union officials. 
Unfortunately the majority of the trade unions, owing to the 'neutrality' 
which they have observed for some years, have become politically indiffer- 
ent, and judge the trade-union movement in practice only from the out- 
look of the petty and immediate interests of their respective trades" (H. 
Strobel, Gewerlcschaften mid sosialistische Geist, ' ' Neue Zeit, ' ' xxiii, vol. 
ii. No. 44). 

^^ This has recently happened also in Italy (cf . Einaldo Eigola, Ventun 
mesi di Vita della Confederasione del Lavoro, Tip. Coop., Turin, 1908, pp. 
62 et seq.). 

" In practice, the executive committees have been able, to a large extent, 
to make good their claim to decide this matter. To-day the decision 
whether a strike is or is not to take place rarely depends upon local groups, 
but is in the hands of the central executives. One well acquainted with' 
labour organizations. Otto Geithner of Berlin, a carpenter by trade, quotes 
the argument employed by the trade-union leaders to justify this tendency, 
which runs as follows: ''Since the executive committees of the unions have 
to supply the financial means it is necessary that the decision should be 
in their hands" ("Korrespondenzblatt der Generalkommission der Gewerk- 
schaften Deutschlands, " anno vii, No. 28). Geithner makes the apt com- 
ment that this seems to imply that the poor officials have to pay the cost 
of the strike out of their own pockets, that the funds of the union are 
ends in themselves, and that the movement to secure better wages is an 
unimportant accessory (Otto Geithner, zur TaTctik der Sosialdemokratie, 
Betrachtungen eines Lohnarbeiters, "Neue Zeit," anno xxiii, No. 47). 


it is obvious that the most essential democratic principles are 
gravely infringed. The leaders have openly converted them- 
selves into an oligarchy, leaving to the masses who provide the 
funds no more than the duty of accepting the decisions of that 
oligarchy.^^ This abuse of power may perhaps find justification 
on tactical grounds, the leaders alleging in defence of their proce- 
dure the supreme need that a strike should be declared cau- 
tiously and in unison. They claim the right to decide the merits 
of the question on the sole ground that they know better than 
the workers themselves the conditions of the labour market 
throughout the country and are consequently more competent to 
judge the chances of success in the struggle. The trade-union 
leaders add that since the stoppage of work in a town necessarily 
impairs the financial strength of the union in that town, and 
sometimes disturbs the conditions of work of a whole series of 
organized workers, it is for the leaders to decide when and where 
a strike should be declared. Thus they consider that their action 
is justified by the democratic aim of safeguarding the interests 
of the majority against the impulsive actions of the minority.^^ 

'^Some time ago a notice went the rounds of the socialist press in Ger- 
many, under the headline The View Taken by Employers of Trade-union 
Officials. This was an extremely characteristic document. It runs as fol- 
lows: "The federation of employers in the buildiag trade of Greater 
Berlin is opposed to the foundation of conciliation boards, but has made a 
notable proposal in the eveiit of these being instituted by law. The em- 
ployers demand that in this case it shall be ordained by the law that the 
officials of the professional associations of the employers and also those of 
the trade unions shall be eligible for appointment to the boards. It^ is 
alleged as a reason that it is much easier and more fruitful to negotiate with 
the trained employees of the unions than with workers who are still engaged 
in manual labour and who lack the necessary ability and independence 
("Frankische Tagespost," February 26, 1909). Two considerations may 
be deduced from this notice: 1, that in the view of the more intelligent 
among the employers the trade-union leader is independent of his union, 
in other words, that he leads it; 2, that this independence has already be- 
come so considerable that the leaders do not hesitate to admit it openly 
before the led, and even make a parade of their power.— Eegarding the 
omnipotence of the leaders of the English unions cf. Fausto Pagliari: "In 
the unions . . . there has come into existence a bureaucracy which is prac- 
tically irresistible and which rules the organization as an absolute master, 
and the unity and efficiency of the administration are enhanced by the 
sacrifice of democratic guarantees and of the education of the rank and 
file in the methods of trade-union action" (L'organizsasione operaia m 
Europa, Societa Umanitaria, Milan, 1909, 2ud ed., p. 54). 

"This was the principal argument employed by the German Metal- 
workers' Federation against the metal-workers' strike at Mannheim in 


We are not here concerned, however, with the causation of the 
oligarchy which prevails in the trade unions. It suffices to point 
out how little difference exists between the tendencies of prole- 
tarian oligarchies and those of such oligarchies as prevail in the 
life of the state — governments, courts^, etc. It is interesting to 
note that in Germany, as elsewhere, the socialist leaders do not 
hesitate to admit the existence of a well-developed oligarchy in 
the trade-union movement ; while the leaders of the trade unions, 
in their turn, draw attention to the existence of an oligarchy in 
the socialist party ; both groups of leaders unite however in de- 
claring that as far as their own organizations are concerned these 
are quite immune to oligarchical infection.^" 

Nevertheless, the trade-union leaders and the leaders of the 
socialist party sometimes combine upon a course of action which, 
were it undertaken by either group of leaders alone, those of the 
other group would not fail to stigmatize as grossly undemocratic. 
For example, in the serious question of the 1st of May demon- 
stration, one of primary democratic importance in the year 1908, 
the executive committee of the socialist party and the general 
committee of the trade unions issued by common accord an an- 
nouncement definitely decreeing from above the conduct of the 
separate political and trade-union organizations. In a question 
thus profoundly affecting the individual trade unions and local 
socialist committees, the executives regarded it as quite unnec- 
essary to ask these for their opinion.^^ Such conduct shows how 
much justification there is for the criticism which each of the 
two branches of the working-class movement directs against the 
other. Moreover, the question which has been debated whether 
the local trades councils might not be directly represented at the 
trade-union congresses is after all merely one of the enlargement 
of the oligarchical circle. 

Let us next briefly consider the third form of the working- 
class movement, cooperative organizations, and in particular the 

October 1908 (Adolf Weber, Der Kampf swiseJien Kapital und Arlteit, 
Mohr, Tubingen, 1910, p. 30). 

""Cf. articles by K. Kautsky, H. Strobel, Eosa Luxemburg, Parvus, and 
Anton Pannekoek, on the one hand, and, on the other, those which have 
appeared in the trade-union press discussing the eternal politics of the 
socialist party (for example, those published during the dispute that 
broke out in December 1905 in the matter of the editorship of *'Vor- 
warts"); here there wiU be found innumerable documents to sustain what 
has been said in the text. 

^ ' ' "Volksstimme ' ' of Frankfort, anno xix, No. 22, supplement 3. 


organizations for cooperative production, as those which in their 
very nature should incorporate most perfectly the democratic 

As far as concerns distributive cooperative societies, it is easy ?' 
to understand that these cannot be directly governed by the 
mass of the members. As Kautsky has shown, we are here con- 
cerned with an enterprise whose functions are essentially com- 
mercial, and therefore outside the competence of the rank and 
file.X. For this reason, the principal business activities of these 
societies must be entrusted to the employees and to a few ex- 
perts. "Unless we consider buying as cooperation, in which case 
the customers of an ordinaiy shopman are also cooperators with 
the shopman, the members of a cooperative society have nothing 
more to do with the management than have the shareholders of 
a limited company; they choose their managing committee, and 
then leave the machine to run itself, waiting till the end of the 
year to express their approval or disapproval of the management, 
and to pocket their dividends. " ^- In actual fact, the distribu- 
tive cooperative societies present in general a monarchical aspect. 
Eead, for example, what was written by a well-disposed critic 
concerning the cooperative society "Vooruit" of Ghent, which 
is led by Edouard Anseele, the socialist, and which is definitely 
socialist in its tendency: *'Cette prosperity et cette bonne ad- 
ministration ne vont pas sans quelques sacrifices a la sacrosainte 
liberte ouvriere. Le 'Vooruit' tout-entier porte I'empreinte de 
la forte personalite qui I'a cree. . . . Une volonte puissante, 
avide a revendiquer des responsabilites, alors que d'autres recu- 
lent sans cesse devant les responsabilites, s'enivre presque tou- 
jours d'elle-meme. M. Anseele, grand industriel de fait, a vo- 
lontiers les manieres impetueuses, imperieuses et brusques des 
capitaines d 'industrie les plus bourgeois, et le ' Vooruit ' n 'est rien 
moins qu'une republique anarchique. II repose plutot sur le 
principe d 'autorite. " ^^ 

Societies for cooperative production, on the other hand, and 
especially the smaller of these, offer in theory the best imag- 
inable field for democratic collaboration. They consist of homo- 
geneous elements belonging to the same stratum of the working 
class, of persons following the same trade, and accustomed to 
the same manner of life. In so far as the society needs a man- 

^'Karl Kautsky, Konsumvereine und Arheiterbewegung, ed. cit., p. 17. 
^'"Pourquoi pas?" Brussels, anno ii, No. 97. 


agement, this management can readily be effected by all the 
members in common, since all possess the same professional com- 
petence, and all can lend a hand as advisers and coadjutors. In 
a political party it is impossible that every member should be 
engaged in important political vsrork, and it is for this reason 
that in the political party there necessarily exists a great gulf 
between the leaders and the rank and file. But in a society for 
cooperative production, for boot-making for example, all the 
members are equally competent in the making of boots, the use 
of tools, and knowledge of the quality of leather. There do not 
exist among them any essential differences in matters of tech- 
nical knowledge. Yet despite the fact that the circumstances 
are thus exceptionally favourable for the constitution of a demo- 
cratic organism, we cannot as a general rule regard productive 
cooperatives as models of democratic auto-administration. Rod- 
bertus said on one occasion that when he imagined productive as- 
sociations to have extended their activities to include all manu- 
facture, commerce, and agriculture, when he conceived all social 
work to be effected by small cooperative societies in whose man- 
agement every member had an equal voice, he was unable to avoid 
the conviction that the economic system would succumb to the 
cumbrousness of its own machinery.^* The history of productive 
cooperation shows that all the societies have been faced with the 
following dilemma: either they succumb rapidly owing to dis- 
cord and powerlessness resulting from the fact that too many in- 
dividuals have the right to interfere in their administration; 
or else they end by submitting to the will of one or of a few 
persons, and thus lose their truly cooperative character.^^ In 
almost all cases, such enterprises owe their origin to the personal 
initiative of one or a few members. They are sometimes minia- 
ture monarchies, being under the dictatorship of the manager, 
who represents them in all internal and external relations, and 
upon whose will they depend so absolutely that if he dies or re- 
signs his post they run the risk of perishing.^^ This tendency on 

^Karl Eodbertus, Offener Brief an das Komitee des deutschen ArTjeiter- 
vereins su Leipzig, in F. Lassalle's Politische Beden und Scliriften, ed. 
eit., vol. ii, p. 9. 

^^Cf. the identical judgment expressed by Frederick van Eeden, the 
founder and for many years the manager of a cooperative colony in the 
neighborhood of Amsterdam. His views were expressed in an interview 
published by the cooperative newspaper ' ' De Volharding, ' ' anno v, No. 8. 

^^Lomberto Paoletti, op. cit., pp. 273-274. 


the part of the productive cooperative societies is further ac- 
centuated by their character as aggregates of individuals whose 
personal advantages decrease in proportion as the number of the 
members increases. Thus from their very nature they are sub- 
ject to the same immutable psychological laws which governed 
the evolution of the medieval guilds. As they become more pros- 
perous, they become also more exclusive, and tend always to 
monopolize for the benefit of the existing members the advan- 
tages they have been able to secure. For example, by imposing 
a high entrance-fee they put indirect obstacles in the way of the 
entry of new members. In some cases they simply refuse to ac- 
cept new members, or pass a rule establishing a maximum mem- 
bership. When they have need of more labour-power they sup- 
ply this need by engaging ordinary wage-labourers. Thus we 
not infrequently find that a society for cooperative production 
becomes gradually transformed into a joint-stock company. It 
even happens occasionally that the cooperative society becomes 
the private enterprise of the manager. In both these cases Kaut- 
sky is right in saying that the social value of the working-class 
cooperative is then limited to the provision of means for certain 
proletarians which will enable them to climb out of their own 
class into a higher.^'^ Eodbertus described labour associations as 
a school for the education of the working class, in which the man- 
ual workers could learn administration, discussion, and within 
limits the art of government.^* We have seen to how small an 
extent this statement is applicable. 

Vin the democratic movement the personal factor thus plays a 
very considerable part. In the smaller associations it is often 
predominant.^" In the larger organizations, larger questions 
commonly lose the personal and petty characteristics which they 
originally possessed, but all the same the individuals who bring 
these questions forward, and who in a sense come to personify 

^' Karl Kautsky, Konsumvereine und Arbeiterhewegung , ed. cit., p. 6. — 
More recently the socialist professor, Gaetano Salvemini, speaking of the 
extensive and in many respects noteworthy movement towards cooperative 
production in Central Italy, has referred to it as a leech applied to the 
body of the proletariat and as a buttress of the dominant parasitism, and 
has declared that its aim is to enrich the minority at the expense of the 
collectivity. (Cf. the series of articles Cooperative di Lavoro e Movimento 
socialista, "Avanti, " anno xiv, Nos. 174 et seq.) 

^Eodbertus, op. cit., p. 9. 

" This statement is confirmed by the testimony of the German socialist 
Otto Geithner, who says: "He who like myself has had some experience 


them, retain their influence and importance. In England, three 
or four men, Macdonald, Keir Hardie, Henderson, and Clynes, 
for instance, enjoy the confidence of the socialist masses so un- 
restrictedly that, as an able observer declares, it is impossible to 
exercise an influence upon the rank and file except by influencing 
these leaders.^" In Italy, the first among the leaders of the trade- 
union organizations has affirmed that those only which are headed 
by a good organizer can continue in existence. "Categories of 
the most various trades, found in the most diverse environments, 
have been unable to secure organization and to live through 
crises, except in so far as they have been able to find first-class 
men to manage their affairs. Those which have had bad leaders 
have not succeeded in establishing organizations; or the organi- 
zations if formed have proved defective. " ^^ In Germany, the 
supreme authority of Bebel was manifested by a thousand signs/^ 
from the joy with which he was hailed wherever he went, to the 
efforts always made in the various congresses by the representa- 
tives of different tendencies to win him over to their side. More- 
over, the working-class leaders are well aware of their ascend- 
ancy over the masses. Sometimes political opportunism leads 
them to deny it, but more commonly they are extremely proud 
of it and boast of it. In Italy, and in other countries as well, 
the socialist leaders have always claimed that the bourgeoisie and 
the government are greatly indebted to them for having held 
the masses in check, and as having acted as moderators to the 
impulsive crowd. This amounts to saying that the socialist 
leaders claim the merit, and consequently the power, of prevent- 
ing the social revolution, which, according to them, would, in 
default of their intervention, have long ago taken place.^^ Dis- 
union in parties, although often evoked by objective necessities, 

(and I have been an observer of the labour movement for nearly fifteen 
years), cannot fail to be aware that in small organizations questions of 
fact are almost always overshadowed by personal considerations, to which 
an exaggerated importance is attached" (Discussion in "Vorwarts, " anno 
xxiii, No. 137), 

^"M. Beer's report on the 9th annual congress of the British Labour 
Party, "Frankische Tagespost," anno xli, No. 28 (1909), 

^^ Einaldo Eigola, I Funsionari delle Organissasioni, ' * Avanti, ' ' anno xiv, 
No. 341. 

^^Cf. the excellent description given by Albert Weidner, Bebel, "Der 
Arme Teufel," anno ii, No. 21 (1903), 

^^Cf. the well-known speech of Camillo Prampolini in the Chamber of 
Deputies March 13, 1902 (Tip. Op., Eeggio Emilia, 1902, p. 24); also 


is almost always the work of the leaders. The masses never 
oppose the reconciliation of their chiefs, partly, no doubt, be- 
cause the differences between the leaders, in so far as they are of 
an objective character, are for the most part outside the narrow 
circle of interests and the limited understanding of the rank 
and file.^* 

' The esteem of the leaders for the masses is not as a rule very 
profound, even though there are some among them who profess 
great enthusiasm for the masses and repay with interest the hon- 
our which these render. In the majority of cases the veneration 
is a one-sided affair, if only for the reason that the leaders have 
had an opportunity of learning the miseries of the crowd by first- 
hand experience. Fourniere said that the socialist leaders re- 
garded the crowd, which had entrusted them with the fulfilment 
of its own aspirations and which consisted of devoted followers, 
as a passive instrument in their own hands, as a series of ciphers 
whose only purpose was to increase the value of the little figure 
standing to the left. "N'en a-t-il qu'un a sa droite, il ne vaut 
que pour dix ; en a-t-il six, il vaut pour un million. ' ' ^^ 

The differences in education and competence which actually 
exist among the members of the party are reflected in the dif- 
ferences in their functions. It is on the ground of the incompe- 
tence of the masses that the leaders justify the exclusion of these 
from the conduct of affairs. They contend that it would be con- 
trary to the interests of the party if the minority of the com- 
rades who have closely followed and attentively studied the ques- 
tions under consideration should be overruled by the majority 
which does not really possess any reasoned opinion of its own 
upon the matters at issue. This is why the chiefs are opposed 
to the referendum, at any rate as far as concerns its introduction 1 
into party life. "The choice of the right moment for action 
demands a comprehensive view which only a few individuals in 

numerous articles and speeches by Filippo Turati, as for example II partito 
socialista e I'attuale momento politico ("Critica Sociale," Milan, 1902, 3rd 
edition, p. 15), and his speech to the 7th Italian Socialist Congress at 
Imola in 1902 (Bendiconto, Lib. Soc. Ital., Eome, 1903, p. 54). 

^Mermeix (La France socialiste. Notes d'un contemporain, Fetscherin et 
Chuit, Paris, 1886 3rd ed., p. 138) wrote as long ago as 1886 with ref- 
erence to the struggle between the Marxists and the possibilists which 
occurred in 1875: "Si les chefs pouvaient se donner la main, 1 'union serait 
parfaite dans le parti ouvrier." As every one knows, this prophecy waa 
fulfilled in 1904. 

^ E. Fourniere, La sociocratie, ed. cit., p. 117. 


the mass can ever possess^, whilst the majority are guided by mo- 
mentary impressions and currents of feeling, A limited body of 
officials and confidential advisers, in closed session, where they 
are removed from the influence of coloured press reports, and 
where every one can speak without fearing that his words will 
be bruited in the enemy's camp, is especially likely to attain 
to an objective judgment."^® 

To justify the substitution of the indirect vote for the direct 
vote, the leaders invoke, in addition to political motives, the com- 
plicated structure of the party organization. Yet for the state 
organization, which is infinitely more complicated, direct legis- 
lation by means of the initiative and the referendum is an in- 
tegral part of the socialist programme.^^ The antinomy which 
underlies these different ways of looking at the same thing ac- 
cording as it presents itself in the politics of the state or in 
those of the party pervades the whole life of the latter. 

The working-class leaders sometimes openly avow, with a sin- 
cerity verging on cynicism, their own superiority over the troops 
they command, and may go so far as to declare their firm inten- 
tion to refuse to these latter any facility for dictating the leaders' 
conduct. The leaders even reserve to themselves the right of 

^^ Eduard Bernstein, GewerJcschaftsdemoJcratie, ' ' Sozial. Monatsh., ' ' 1909, 
p. 86. 

^^ Cf ., for example, Hans Block, Ueherspannung der DemoTcratie, "Neue 
Zeit, " xxvi. No. 8, p. 266. The author himself sees very clearly how the 
reasons applied by him to combat democracy within the party are equally 
applicable against democracy in the state. He therefore takes occasion 
to cleave democracy in two, and to make a distinction between its applica- 
tion in party life and in the life of the state. He writes: "Our pro- 
gramme, however, demands direct election, rejecting indirect. It also con- 
tains the demand for direct legislation by the people through the initiative 
and the referendum. But elections and votes which concern the life of the 
state cannot be compared with those which concern party organization. 
The circumstances are altogether different. In the case of the state, the 
matters under consideration have taken shape long before the time comes 
for the vote; the persons involved have already assumed definite positions. 
The problem is plain and is plainly formulated from the first. Very different 
is the matter in party life, where even in the last weeks before the annual 
congress important proposals and recoramendations come up for discussion 
of which an organization which insisted upon employing the ponderous 
mechanism of the direct vote could not possibly take account" (p. 265). — ■ 
This distinction is in truth utterly fictitious. It is incomprehensible that 
the affairs of a party, whose organization when compared with that of the 
state is small and simple, can be more complicated than those of the state 
itself, and that therefore a violation of democratic principles can be 
more readily justified in the case of the party than in the case of the state. 


rebelling against the orders they receive. A typical example, 
among many, is the opinion expressed on this subject by Filippo 
Turati, an exceptionally intelligent and well-informed man and 
one of the most influential members of the Italian socialist party, 
in a labour congress held at Rome in 1908. Referring to the 
position of the socialist deputy in relation to the socialist masses, 
he said: "The socialist parliamentary group is always at the 
disposal of the proletariat, as long as the group is not asked to 
undertake absurdities. " ^s it need hardly be said that in each 
particular case it is the deputies who have to decide whether the 
things they are asked to do are or are not "absurd." ^^ 

^ This speech was made in a Convegno pro Amnistia on March 31, 1908, 
reported in the Turin "Stampa, " xvii, No. 92. 

^° Essentially this view is held also by Eduard Bernstein, who, however, 
in correspondence with his thoughtful and amiable character, expresses it 
more mildly, and endeavours to justify it by serious reasons. He tells 
us that the leader is not the mere mouthpiece of the masses, but has to 
decide on behalf of the masses what are their true interests. To quote 
his actual words: "Bebel contends that the leaders should follow the 
masses. This is not my view. I consider that the so-called ' leaders, ' that is 
to say the confidential agents of the workers, hold the position of experts 
on behalf of the working class. Unquestionably they must cooperate 
harmoniously with those from whom they derive their power, but above all 
they must act in accordance with their own best convictions of what 
the interests of the working class really demand; when it is needful they 
must oppose the views of the workers, and make their own opinions prevail. 
We must not allow ourselves to be carried away by transitory currents. 
Bebel laughs at the idea of reserving certain questions for the decision 
of the parliamentary group. But is it not quite right to hold that the 
deputies, who are always in the Reichstag, can judge certain questions 
better than those who are not members of this body? Unless it be in- 
tended to pass a vote of no-confidence in the group, the question with 
which we are now concerned can surely be left to its judgment" (Eduard 
Bernstein, speaking at the socialist party congress, Dresden, 1903, Protokoll 
Hber die Verhandlnngen des Farteitages, Buchh. "Vorwarts, " Berlin, 1903, 
p. 309). Some years earlier Bernstein expressed the view that the control 
of the masses over their leaders must be restricted to those questions which 
profoundly concern the interests of the masses and which are not of too 
specialized a character — but he fails to give us any more precise indication 
as to the nature of these questions (Eduard Bernstein Zur Geschichte und 
Theorie des Sosialismus, Edelheim, Berlin, 1901, p. 205). Other leaders 
believe that they can attain the same end, and effect in a less honour- 
able way what in German journalistic language is described as "shepherd- 
ing the masses." A German trade-union leader has actually declared in 
writing that the leaders must sometimes say things which are contrary to 
their own opinions simply because they thus please the masses, "because 
the masses become wise only after they have burned their own fingers"; 
and that it is easier for them to act in this way, because "it is always 


The accumulation of power in the hands of a restricted num- 
ber of persons, such as ensues in the labour movement to-day ,^° 
necessarily gives rise to numerous abuses. The * ' representative, ' ' 
proud of his indispensability, readily becomes transformed from 
a servitor of the people into their master.''^ The leaders, who 
have begun by being under obligations to their subordinates, 
become in the long run the lords of these: such is the ancient 
truth which was recognized by Goethe when he made Mephisto- 
pheles say that man always allows himself to be ruled by his own 
creatures. The very party which fights against the usurpations 
of the constituted authority of the state submits as by natural 
necessity to the usurpations effected by its own constituted au- 
thorities. The masses are far more subject to their leaders than 
to their governments, and they bear from the former abuses of 
power which they would never tolerate from the latter.*^ The 
lower classes sometimes react forcibly against oppression from 
above, and take bloody reprisals, as happened in the French Jac- 
queries, in the German Peasants' Wars, in the English revolts 
under Wat Tyler and Jack Cade, and more recently in the revolts 
of the Sicilian Fasci in 1893 ; whereas they do not perceive the 
tyranny of the leaders they have themselves chosen. If at length 
the eyes of the masses are opened to the crimes against the demo- 
cratic ideal which are committed by their party leaders, their 
astonishment and their stupor are unbounded. If, however, they 
then rise in rebellion, the nature of their criticisms shows how 
little they have understood the true character of the problem. 
Far from recognizing the real fount of the oligarchical evil in 
the centralization of power within the party, they often consider 
that the best means of counteracting oligarchy is to intensify this 
very centralization.^^ 

within their power as masters to do what their own enlightened intelligence 
suggests without the masses understanding what they are about" (Tischen- 
dorfer in the " Korrespondenzblatt der Generalkommission der Gewerk- 
sehaften Deutschlands, " quoted by Otto Geithner, Zwr Tdktih der Sozial- 
demoTcratie, "Neue Zeit, " anno xxiii, vol. ii, p. 657). 

*» Cf . p. 64. 

^ This possibility has been admitted even by Kautsky (Karl Kautsky, 
WaMkreis und Partie, "Neue Zeit," xxii No. 28, p. 36). 

*^ " It is well known that the people finds it far easier to get the 
better of kings than of legislative assemblies" (Karl Marx, "Neue Eheinis- 
che Zeitung," November 11, 1848). 

^'This ineptitude was conspicuously displayed in the debates which took 
place in Germany concerning the 1st of May demonstrations (see p. 146). 
Shortly after the oflQ.cial orders upon this subject had been issued, a meet- 


ing of the socialist branch of Lfcipzig, a branch noted for its revolutionary 
spirit and subject to the influence of Marxist extremists such as Mehring and 
Lensch, took up a definite position in favour of the 1st of May celebration. 
In this year (1908) certain concessions had been made by the Leipzig 
police in the matter of the procession, so that the celebration promised' 
to be more imposing than ever. Consequently in the socialist branch at 
Leipzig vigorous protests Tvere made against the executive committee of 
the party, which, in agreement Tvith the executive of the trade-union 
organizations, had decided that in future the workers who were discharged 
by their employers in consequence of the 1st of May celebrations should 
not have any right to out-of-work relief from the central treasury of the 
socialist party or from that of the general federation of trade unions, but 
that it would be necessary for special local and voluntary funds to be 
founded to subsidize the 1st of May manifestants. The resolution passed 
by the Leipzig socialists, in criticism of this decision, ran as follows: "The 
Leipzig comrades regard this as an attempt to limit by indirect measures 
the cessation of work on the 1st of May, and to exercise such an in- 
fluence upon the trade unions as to lead the individual trade unions to 
revoke their resolutions in favour of the support of those who are dis- 
missed by their employers because of participation in the celebration. The 
further attempt to throw upon the local organizations responsibility for 
and execution of the determinations made by the central organizations is 
regarded by the Leipzig comrades as an infringement of the priiiciple of 
centralization. The conrrades express their profoundest regret that the 
local branches of the party were not consulted, as were the leaders of the 
federations, before this decision was arrived at, and they look to the next 
party congress to regulate the question of the 1st of May demonstration." 
In this resolution, which in the main is identical with the resolutions adopted 
by the committees of the party and trade-union branches in Frankfort-on- 
the-Main, and which was accepted by the committees of the party and 
trade-union branches in Flensburg, Sehleswig (" Volkstimme, " Frankfurt 
a/M. xix, 79), the comrades, revolting against the oligarchico-autoeratie 
consequences of centralization, seriously proposed a more vigorous carrying 
out of the principle of centralization. 




Those who defend the arbitrary acts committed by the democ- 
racy, point out that the masses have at their disposal means 
whereby they can react against the violation of their rights. 
These means consist in the right of controlling and dismissing 
their leaders. Unquestionably this defence possesses a certain 
theoretical value, and the authoritarian inclinations of the lead- 
ers are in some degree attenuated by these possibilities. In states 
with a deniocratic tendency and under a parliamentary regime, 
to obtain the fall of a detested minister it suffices, in theory, that 
the people should be weary of him. In the same way, once 
more in theory, the ill-humour and the opposition of a socialist 
group or of an election committee is enough to effect the recall 
of a deputy 's mandate, and in the same way the hostility of the 
majority at the annual congress of trade unions should be enough 
to secure the dismissal of a secretary. In practice, however, the 
exercise of this theoretical right is interfered with by the work- 
ing of the whole series of conservative tendencies to which allu- 
sion has previously been made, so that the supremacy of the 
autonomous and sovereign masses is rendered purely illusory. 
The dread by which Nietzsche was at one time so greatly dis- 
turbed, that every individual might become a functionary of the 
mass, must be completely dissipated in face of the truth that 
while all have the right to become functionaries, few only pos- 
sess the possibility. 

With the institution of leadership there simultaneously begins, 
owing to the long tenure of office, the transformation of the 
leaders into a closed caste.^ 

Unless, as in France, extreme individualism and fanatical po- 
litical dogmatism stand in the way, the old leaders present them- 
selves to the masses as a compact phalanx — at any rate whenever 
the masses are so much aroused as to endanger the position of the 

^Cf. p. 104. 


The election of the delegates to congresses, etc., is sometimes 
regulated by the leaders by means of special agreements, whereby 
the masses are in fact excluded from all decisive influence in the 
management of their affairs. These agreements often assume the 
aspect of a mutual insurance contract. In the German socialist 
party, a few years ago, there came into existence in not a few 
localities a regular system in accordance with which the leaders 
nominated one another in rotation as delegates to the various 
party congresses. In the meetings at which the delegates were 
appointed, one of the big guns would always propose to the com- 
rades the choice as delegate of the leader whose "turn" it was. 
The comrades rarely revolt against such artifices, and often fail 
even to perceive them. Thus competition among the leaders is 
prevented, in this domain at least ; and at the same time there 
is rendered impossible anything more than passive participation, 
of the rank and file in the higher functions of the life of that 
party which they alone sustain with their subscriptions.^ Not- 
withstanding the violence of the intestine struggles which di- 
vide the leaders, in all the democracies they manifest vis-a-vis 
the masses a vigorous solidarity. "lis eoncoivent bien vite la 
necessite de s'accorder entre eux, afin que le parti ne puisse pas 
leur echapper en se divisant. ' ' ^ This is true above all of the 
German social democracy, in which, in consequence of the excep- 
tional solidity of structure which it possesses as compared with 
all the other socialist parties of the world, conservative tenden- 
cies have attained an extreme development. 

When there is a struggle between the leaders and the masses, 
the former are always victorious if only they remain united.* 
At least it rarely happens that the masses succeed in disembar- 
rassing themselves of one of their leaders. At Mannheim, a few 
years ago, the organized workers did actually dismiss one of 
their chiefs, but not without arousing intense indignation among 
the leaders, who described this act of legitimate rebellion as a 

' Similar phenomena have been observed in party life in America (Ostro- 
gorsky, La Devwcratie, etc., ed. eit., vol. ii, p. 196). 

^Antoine Elisee Cherbuliez, Theorie des Garantis constitutioneUes, Ab. 
Cherbuliez, Paris, 1838, vol. ii, p. 253. 

* Domela Nieuwenhuis once compared the organization of the socialist 
party to a flock of sheep with dogs and shepherds. When any member of the 
flock endeavours to stray he is immediately driven back by the barking 
dogs (Debat tusschen F. Domela Nieuwe7ikuis en H. Gorter over Sociaal- 
Bemokratie of AnarcMsme, held at Enschede, October 8, 1904, "Nieuwe 
Tijd," p. 17). 


crime on the part of the rank and file, and were careful to obtain 
another post for the poor victim of popular anger.^ In the course 
of great political agitations and in extensive economic struggles 
undertaken by the masses against the will of their leaders these 
soon reacquire the supremacy which they may for a moment 
have lost. Then it often happens that the leaders, over the heads 
of the crowd and in opposition to its expressed will, contraven- 
ing the fundamental principles of democracy and ignoring all the 
legal, logical, and economic bonds which unite the paid leaders 
to the paying masses, make peace with the enemy, and order the 
close of the agitation or the resumption of work. This is what 
happened in the last Italian general strike, and also in the great 
strikes at Crimmitschau, Stetten, Mannheim, etc. The masses in 
such cases are often sulky, but they never rebel, for they lack 
power to punish the treachery of the chiefs. After holding tu- 
multuous meetings in which they declare their legitimate and 
statutory displeasure, they never fail to provide their leaders 
with the democratic fig-leaf of a bill of indemnity. In 1905 the 
miners of the Euhr basin were enraged against their leaders when 
these had taken it upon themselves to declare the great miners' 
strike at an end. It seemed as if on this occasion the oligarchy 
was at length to be called to account by the masses.^ A few weeks 

^ Adolf Weber, Eapital und Arbeit, ed. cit., p. 380. 

*Cf. the series of articles StreiTceindruclce, by Conrad Haenisch, in the 
"Sachsische Arbeiterzeitung, " xvi, Nos. 51-58, and the series in the "Leip- 
ziger Volkszeitung, " 1905, Nos. 41-44 and 61-63. Haenisch reports: "I 
shall never forget the moment when it was announced to the rank and 
file that their leaders had suddenly come to a decision without consulting 
them. The speech was interrupted by a general shout 'Continue the 
strike ! ' and a number of excited miners endeavoured to storm the plat- 
form by a side door. Yet it was only a momentary disturbance, for the 
stewards soon reduced the 'mutineers' to order. But all the more fiercely 
now flamed the wrath of the masses in the street, who had expected any- 
thing rather than such a decision. The cart carrying the 255,000 leaflets 
announcing the resumption of work, which the committee of seven had had 
printed the previous day at an ultramontane printer's, was taken by 
assault. Sachse (socialist deputy, president of the miners' federation, and 
one of the principal leaders of the strike) was followed to the station 
by at least 300 desperately raging miners. Prom the whole of Essen there 
arose but one cry, 'Treason!' However absurd and unjust this cry may 
have been, the fact that it was uttered gives us a profound iusight into the 
intensely disturbed popular mind" ("Sachs. Arbz.," xvi, 58). Again: 
"Old and tried comrades came to the editorial offices at Dortmund, in 
tears, in an emotional state that I should never have deemed possible to 
our sober-minded Westphalians, overwhelming us with desperate accusations 


later, tranquillity was completely restored, as if it had never 
been disturbed. The leaders had defied the anger of their fol- 
lowers, and had nevertheless remained in power. In Turin, in 
October, 1907, on the third day of the general strike, the workers 
had decided by a large majority that the strike should be contin- 
ued, but the leaders (the executive committee of the local branch 
of the party and the committees of the local trade unions) went 
counter to this decision, which ought to have been valid for them, 
by issuing a manifesto in which they counselled the strikers to 
return to work.'^ In the meetings of the party and of the trades 
council which followed upon these events the breach of discipline 
was condoned. The rank and file dreaded the resignation of the 
leaders and the bad appearance which their organizations would 
have displayed in face of the bourgeoisie when deprived of their 
best known and most highly esteemed men. Thus the governing 
bodies of democratic and socialist parties can in case of need act 
entirely at their own discretion, maintaining a virtual independ- 
ence of the collectivity they represent, and in practice making 
themselves omnipotent.^ 

■whieh I cannot bring myself to transcribe. The fate of the 255,000 leaflets 
destroyed by the tumultuous crowd at Essen was shared by innumerable 
pamphlets of the organization. This may give the reader some idea of the 
emotions of the organized masses, unaccustomed to discipline! I have 
said enough, and shall not attempt to describe the scenes of Thursday and 
Friday at all the mass meetings" ("Leipz. Volksz.," 1905, p. 41). 

' Whilst the prefect forbade that the decision of the workers to continue 
the strike should be put into effect, the local authorities, acting on hia 
instructions, did everything they could to secure the adoption of the leaders' 
proposal that work should be resumed. 

® It is a remarkable psychological phenomenon that the leaders of great 
organizations exhibit in private life weaknesses and other deficiencies which 
are in singular contrast with the qualities of leadership. The great organizer 
Lassalle perished shamefully through his incapacity for conducting to a 
happy end an engagement to marry, too lightly undertaken. The domestic 
relationships of the great majority of the socialist leaders {nomina sunt 
odiosa) are extremely unhappy. The talent for organization and com- 
mand often becomes transformed into its opposite within the four walls 
of the house. "lis semblent incapables de reflechir et de se conduire dans 
les circonstances les plus simples, alors qu'ils savaient si bien conduire 
les autres" (Gustave Le Bon, Psycliologie des Foules, Alcan, Paris, 1899, 
p. 110). The marriages contracted by most of the socialist leaders are of a 
typically bohemian character. Among these leaders those who have been 
divorced and those who practise the so-called free love constitute a high 
percentage. A happy and retired family life like that of a few of the most 
noted among the leaders (Karl Marx, August Bebel, Enrico Ferri) is so 
exceptional in the case of socialist marriages that the socialists are in the 


Such a condition of affairs is essentially oligarchical, and mani- 
fold are its consequences in the movements that have been ini- 
tiated under the banner of democracy. One of the chief of these 
consists in the daily infringement on the part of the executive 
of the tactical resolutions whose fulfilment is entrusted to the 
executive as a sacred charge by the numerous leaders of the sec- 
ond rank who make up the congresses and assemblies of the 
party ; ^ hence arises the practice which becomes continually 

habit of trumpeting these exceptions widely, referring to them for propa- 
ganda purposes in order to repel the accusation so often levelled that they 
aim at the disorganization of the family. 

® The discipline prescribed for the narrower circle of leaders (executives) 
by the resolutions of the wider circle of leaders (congresses) is very 
frequently infringed. It was by a breach of discipline that Ulrich was the 
first socialist to enter the Hessian chamber, for he came forward as a 
candidate although his party had forbidden any socialist participation in 
th,e elections which were effected by a system of indirect suffrage. In many 
instances the socialists of Bavaria, Wiirtemberg, and Baden openly disre- 
garded the decisions of the congresses forbiding alliances with the liberals 
or with the clericals, and in the various diets they often voted the budget 
although the national congresses had expressly ordained that no support 
was ever to be given to any ministry. The central executive of the party 
has also frequently disregarded the decisions of the congresses. For ex- 
ample, this was done in the second ballots for the Eeichstag in 1903, when 
the executive committee decreed that the votes of the socialists might be 
given to any one who was opposed to restriction of the suffrage, thus violat- 
ing the resolution of the Munich congress of 1902, which laid down that 
support at the second ballot given to a bourgeois candidate of the left who 
was running in opposition to a candidate of the right must depend not 
only on the candidate's attitude to the question of universal suffrage but 
also upon his declared opposition to an imperialist colonial policy. Similarly, 
again, after the congress of Jena (1903), the executive (in accord with the 
general committee of the trade-union organizations) effected profound 
modifications in the decision taken at Jena concerning the general strike. In 
Italy, at the socialist congress of Florence in 1896, it was decreed that no 
member of the party should under any circumstances fight a duel (ef. 
Alfredo Angiolini, Cinquant ' Anni di Socialismo in Italia, Nerbini, Florence, 
1904, 2nd ed., p. 346). Notwithstanding this, every year some half dozen of 
the most conspicuous leaders of the party have sent or accepted challenges. 
Again, the various votes against freemasonry have had no effect what- 
ever, the socialist freemasons remaining in the party and in their lodges. 
Even in Germany, where discipline is professedly far more strict, the pro- 
cedure is extremely lax when authoritative comrades are accused of having 
transgressed the laws of the party. Thus the parliamentary socialist group 
of the Grand Duchy of Baden ignoring the decision of the previous national 
congress of Nuremberg, participated in a vote of confidence in the govern- 
ment (1910). On this occasion the party executive, by failing to censure the 
group for its action, rendered itself an accessory after the fact. Often 


more general of discussing en petit comite questions of the great- 
est importance, and of confronting the party subsequently with 
accomplished facts (for example, electoral congresses are not 
summoned until after the elections, so that the leaders decide on 
their sole responsibility what is to be the electoral platform). 
Again, there are secret negotiations among different groups of 
leaders (as happened in Germany in the case of the 1st of May 
demonstration and in that of the general strike), and secret un- 
derstandings with the government. Once more, silence is often 
maintained by the members of the parliamentary group upon 
matters which have been discussed by the group and upon deci- 
sions at which they have arrived, and this practice is censured by 
members of the executive only when they themselves are kept in 
the dark, but is approved by them when it is merely the masses 
who are hoodwinked. 

There is no indication whatever that the power possessed by j 
the oligarchy in party life is likely to be overthrown within an 
appreciable time. The independence of the leaders increases con- 
currently with their indispensability. Nay more, the influence 
which they exercise and the financial security of their position 
become more and more fascinating to the masses, stimulating 
the ambition of all the more talented elements to enter the privi- 
leged bureaucracy of the labour movement. Thus the rank and 
file becomes continually more impotent to provide new and intel- 
ligent forces capable of leading the opposition which may be la- 
tent among the masses.^" Even to-day the masses rarely move ex- 
enough the leaders actually pride themselves on their disregard of the most 
elementary principles of democracy. When the socialist group of the 
Badenese chamber was reproached for having voted the budget, in defiance 
of the rule established at the Nuremberg congress of 1908, the deputy 
Ludwig Frank declared: "It would go ill with the party if it lacked 
men with the courage to ignore congress resolutions when these are al- 
together impracticable" (reported in the " Volksstimme, " Frankfort, anno 
xxi, No. 168). No one can fail to see that this explanation is invalid. It 
may well happen that certain resolutions adopted by the congresses are 
inopportune, and may be so inopportune that to carry them out would 
be an act of madness, or would at least involve serious harm to the party. 
But this would merely signify that the delegates responsible for passing such 
impossibilist resolutions were characterized by great political immaturity. 
He who will not admit this must at least recognize that the frequent in- 
fringement by the leaders of the determinations of the party congresses | 
constitutes a grave lack of democratic sentiment and discipline. Tertium ■ 
non datur. 

"Thus Pareto writes: "Si les B [nouvelle elite] prennent pen a peu la 
place des A [ancienne elite] par une lente infiltration, et si le mouve- 


eept at tlie command of their leaders. When the rank and file 
does take action in conflict with the wishes of the chiefs, this 
is almost always the outcome of a misunderstanding. The 
miners' strike in the Ruhr basin in 1905 broke out against the 
desire of the trade-union leaders, and was generally regarded as 
a spontaneous explosion of the popular will. But it was sub- 
sequently proved beyond dispute that for many months the lead- 
ers had been stimulating the rank and file, mobilizing them 
against the coal barons with repeated threats of a strike, so that 
the mass of the workers, when they entered on the struggle, 
could not possibly fail to believe that they did so with the full 
approval of their ehiefs.^^ 

It cannot be denied that the masses revolt from time to time, 
but their revolts are always suppressed. It is only when the 
dominant classes, struck by sudden blindness, pursue a policy 
which strains social relationships to the breaking-point, that the 
party masses appear actively on the stage of history and over- 
throw the power of the oligarchies. Every autonomous move- 
ment of the masses signifies a profound discordance with the will 
of the leaders.^^ Apart from such transient interruptions, the 

ment de circulation sociale n 'est pas interrompu, les C [la masse] sont privea 
des chefs qui pourraient les pousser a la revolte" (Vilfredo Pareto, Les 
Systemes socialistes, ed. cit., vol. i, p. 35). 

^ Cf . p. 158, note 6. 

" The outbreak of the great railway strike in England in August 1911 
has been considered by some to have been such a victory on the part of the 
masses over their leaders. Those who take this view contend that this 
strike was a sudden transition from the "sluggish and pacific" tactics of 
the trade unions, whose funds are ample and the "respectability" of 
whose leaders is indisputable, to a vigorous and revolutionary policy; this 
change of tactics they suppose to have been due to the impatience of the 
crowd, rebelling simultaneously against the yoke of the railway companies 
and that of their own officials. But those who hold such a view have not 
given due weight to the most conspicuous characteristics of the movement. 
If ever a strike was conducted by tried and powerful leaders, it was thia 
one. The supreme command of the forces of the "northern army" of the 
strikers (at the Liverpool headquarters) was in the hands of Tom Mann, 
one of the boldest and most energetic figures of the modern labour move- 
ment, a man who in London in 1889 was one of the leaders of the dockers 
in their famous and successful strike, and who subsequently, inspired by the 
sentiment of the class struggle, was an organizer of socialism in Australia. 
Nay more, the aims of the strike were such that the trade-union leaders 
were profoundly interested in its success. Not only was their amour propre 
involved, but it was a question of giving a more solid foundation to the 
economic organization of the workers. If we are to understand the sociology 
of the English railway strike of 1911, we must not forget that the com- 


natural and normal development of the organization will im- 
press upon the most revolutionary of parties an indelible stamp 
of conservatism. 

panies were unwilling to meet the representatives of the labour organization 
and to negotiate with these. But the Amalgamated Society of Eailway 
Servants had unanimously resolved "to give twenty-four hours to the com- 
panies to make up their minds that they would at once meet the representa- 
tives of the trade unions in order to discuss a basis of agreement." Thus 
the question was one of recognition of the working-class leaders by the 
employers' organizations, which amounts to saying that it was one touching 
the personal interest of the employees of the trade unions. Accounts of 
the strike written from very various points of view suffice to establish 
this. Cf., for instance, that of the syndicalist James Barrison in the 
" Internazionale " of Parma (anno v, No. IS), and that published by the 
central organ of the Catholic trade unionists of Germany, the ' ' Centralblatt 
der Christlichen Gewerkschaften Deutschlands" (si, No. 19). 



The thesis of the unlimited power of the leaders in democratic 
parties requires, however, a certain limitation. Theoretically the 
leader is bound by the will of the mass, which has only to give a 
sign and the leader is forced to withdraw. He can be discharged 
and replaced at any moment. But in practice, as we have 
learned, for various reasons the leaders enjoy a high degree of 
independence. It is none the less true that if the democratic 
party cannot dispense with autocratic leaders, it is at least able 
to change these. Consequently the most dangerous defect in a 
leader is that he should possess too blind a confidence in the 
masses. The aristocratic leader is more secure than the demo- 
cratic against surprises at the hands of the rank and file. It is 
an essential characteristic of democracy that every private car- 
ries a marshal 's baton in his knapsack. It is true that the mass 
is always incapable of governing ; but it is no less true that each 
individual in the mass, in so far as he possesses, for good or for 
ill, the qualities which are requisite to enable him to rise above 
the crowdj can attain to the grade of leader and become a ruler. 
Now this ascent of new leaders always involves the danger, for 
those who are already in possession of power, that they will be 
(tf forced to surrender their places to the new-comers. The old 
leader must therefore keep himself in permanent touch with the 
opinions and feelings of the masses to which he owes his position. 
Formally, at least, he must act in unison with the crowd, must 
admit himself to be the instrument of the crowd, must be guided, 
in appearance at least, by its goodwill and pleasure. Thus it 
often seems as if the mass really controlled the leaders. But 
whenever the power of the leaders is seriously threatened, it is 
in most eases because a new leader or a new group of leaders 
is on the point of becoming dominant;, and is inculcating views 
opposed to those of the old rulers of the party. It then seems as 
if the old leaders, unless they are willing to yield to the opinion 
of the rank and file and to withdraw, must consent to share their 
power with the new arrivals. If, however, we look more closely 



into the matter, it is not difficult to see that their submission is 
in most cases no more than an act of foresight intended to ob- 
viate the influence of their younger rivals. The submission of 
the old leaders is ostensibly an act of homage to the crowd, but 
in intention it is a means of prophylaxis against the peril by 
which they are threatened — the formation of a new elite. 

The semblance of obedience to the mass which is exhibited by 
the leaders assumes, in the case of the feebler and the more cun- 
ning among them, the form of demagogy. Demagogues are the 
courtesans of the popular will. Instead of raising the masses to 
their own level, they debase themselves to the level of the masses. 
Even for the most honest among them, the secret of success con- 
sists in "knowing how to turn the blind impulsiveness of the 
crowd to the service of their own ripely pondered plans. ' ' ^ The 
stronger leaders brave the tempest, well-knowing that their power 
may be attacked, but cannot be broken. The weak or the base, on 
the other hand, give ground when the masses make a vigorous on- 
slaught ; their dominion is temporarily impaired or interrupted. 
But their submission is feigned ; they are well aware that if they 
simply remain glued to their posts, their quality as executants 
of the will of the masses will before long lead to a restoration of 
their former dominance. One of the most noted leaders of Ger- 
man socialism said in a critical period of tension between the 
leaders and the masses, that he must follow the will of the masses 
in order to guide them.^ A profound psychological truth is hid- 
den in this sarcasm. He who wishes to command must know how 
to obey. 

It has been affirmed that popular revolutions usually end by 
destroying their leaders. In proof there have been quoted the 
names of Rienzi, Masaniello, and Michele di Lando, for Italy, and 
of Danton and Robespierre, for France. For these and many 
similar instances the observation is a true one. It would, how- 
ever, be an error to accuse the crowd of rising against its lead- 
ers, and to make the masses responsible for their fall. It is not 
the masses which have devoured the leaders : the chiefs have de- 
voured one another with the aid of the masses. Typical examples 
are that of Danton, who was overthrown by Robespierre, and that 
of Robespierre, who was destroyed by the surviving Dantonists. 

* Kochanowski, UrseitJcldnge, etc., ed. cit., p. 10. 

=" ' Ich bin ihr Fuhrer, also muss ich ihnen f olgen. ' ' (Cf . Adolf Weber, 
Ber Kampf swischen Kapital u. Arbeit, ed. cit., p. 369.) 


The struggle which arises between the leaders, and their mu- 
tual jealousies, induce them to employ active measures and often 
to have recourse to artifices.^ Democratic deputies endeavour to 
disarm their adversaries within the party, and at the same time 
to acquire a new prestige in the eyes of the masses, by displaying 
in parliament "a formidable activity on behalf of the common 
cause." This is regarded at once as a democratic duty and as a 
measure of personal precaution. Since the great majority of 
the deputies, electors, and comrades have no precise ideas con- 
cerning the functions he exercises, and are continually inclined 
to accuse him of slackness, the deputy is from time to time forced 
to recall himself to their memories.* It is this need which has 
given rise to not a few of those speeches to which the Germans 
give the name of Dauerreden (interminable speeches), and it 
has also been the cause of more than one "scene" in the various 
parliaments of Austria, France, England, and Italy. It is, in 
fact, held that the most efficacious means for retaining the atten- 
tion of the masses and of rendering them proud of their leaders 
is to be found in the provocation of those personal incidents 
which are far more interesting to the great public and far more 
within the scope of its intelligence than a report upon the utiliza- 
tion of water power or upon a commercial treaty with the repub- 
lic of Argentina. Moreover, it has to be remembered that in 
many countries, and above all in Italy, such scenes are recorded 
in the capitalist press with the greatest abundance of detail, 
whilst serious speeches are summed up in a few lines, and with 
especial brevity when the speaker is a socialist. Thus even in 
normal times the oratorical activity of the parliamentary repre- 
sentatives of the democratic parties is considerable. In Italy, 
the socialist deputies have boasted that between March 25 and 
July 10, 1909, they spoke in the Chamber 212 times. The figure 
represents 20.4 per cent, of all the speeches made in parliament 
during the period, whilst the socialist deputies at this time con- 
stituted only 8 per cent, of the members.^ Such loquacity serves 
not merely to maintain the prestige of the party in the eyes of 

• Concerning the varied character and the intensity of such activities, the 
socialist deputy Guide Podreeca has written a charmingly humorous sketch 
entitled The Joys of a Deputy (Le Gioie del Deputato, "Avanti," anno xiv, 
No. 44, Eome, 1910). 

*Cf. Pio Viazzi, Le Gioie della Deputasione, "Eivista Populare," anno 
XV, No. 11. 

' Cf. the account given by Oddino Morgari, " Avanti," August 12, 1909. 

rivalry; of leaders ler 

its opponents, but is also a matter of personal interest to each 
deputy, being a means to secure bis re-election in competition, 
not only with enemies in other parties, but also with jealous 
rivals belonging to his own organization. 

The differences which lead to struggles between the leaders 
arise in various ways. Reference has previously been made to 
the inevitable antagonism between the "great men" who have 
acquired a reputation in other fields, and who now make adhesion 
to the party, offering it their services as generals, and the old- 
established leaders, who have been socialists from the firsts® 
Often conflict arises simply between age and youth. Sometimes 
the struggle depends upon diversity of social origin, as when 
there is a contest between proletarian leaders and those of bour- 
geois birth,', Sometimes the difference arises from the objective 
needs of the various branches of activity into which a single 
movement is subdivided, as when there is a struggle between the 
political socialist party and the trade-union element, or within 
the political party between the parliamentary group and the 
executive. In some cases there is a horizontal stratification, caus- 
ing a struggle between one stratum of the bureaucracy and an- 
other ; at other times the stratification is vertical, as when there 
occurs a conflict between two local or national groups of leaders ; 
between the Bavarian socialists and the Prussian ; between those 
of Frankfort and those of Hanau ; between the French followers 
of Vaillant, Jaures, and Herve, and the German adherents of 
Bebel and von VoUmar (in the anti-militarist discussion at the 
international congress of Stuttgart). Often enough struggles 
among the socialists are the outcome of racial differences. The 
unceasing contests in the international congresses between the 
German socialists and the French afford in more than one re- 
spect a parallel with the Franco-German War of 1870. In these 
same congresses there participates a third group, misunderstood 
and heterogeneous, the representatives of English socialism, hos- 
tile to all the others and encountering the enmity of all. In 
most cases, however, the differences between the various groups 
of leaders depend upon two other categories of motives. Above 
all there are objective differences and differences of principle in 
general philosophical views, or at least in the mode in which the 
proximate social evolution is conceived, and consequent diver- 

'Cf. pp. 74-5. 

^ A special chapter (Part IV, chap, vi) will be devoted to this question. 


gences of opinion as to the most desirable tactics: this leads to 
the manifestation of the various tendencies known as reformist 
and Marxist, syndicalist and political socialist, and so on. In 
the second place, we have the struggles that depend on personal 
reasons: antipathy, envy, jealousy, a reckless attempt to grasp 
the first positions, demagogy. Enrico Ferri said of his opponent 
Filippo Turati: ''He hates me because he thinks there is not 
room for two cocks in the same fowl-house. " ^ In most cases the 
two series of motives are somewhat confounded in practice ; and 
in the long run we find that those of the former series tend to be 
replaced by those of the latter, inasmuch as differences of prin- 
ciple and of the intellectual order soon become personal and lead 
to a profound hostility between the representatives of the various 
theories. Conversely it is clear that motives of the second series, 
since those who are influenced by them are ashamed to display 
them in their true colours, always endeavour to assume the 
mantle of theory; personal dislike and personal hostility pom- 
pously masquerade as differences of views and tactics. 

The oligarchy which issues from democracy is menaced by two 
grave dangers: the revolt of the masses, and (in intimate rela- 
tionship with this revolt, of which it is often the result) the 
transition to a dictatorship when one among the oligarchs suc- 
ceeds in obtaining supreme power. Of these two dangers, one 
comes from below, whilst the other arises within the very bosom 
of the oligarchy: we have rebellion on one side, and usurpation 
Of on the other. The consequence is that in all modern popular 
parties a spirit of genuine fraternity is conspicuously lacking; 
we do not see sincere and cordial mutual trust; there is a con- 
tinual latent struggle, a spirit of irritation determined by the 
reciprocal mistrust of the leaders, and this spirit has become one 
of the most essential characteristics of every democracy. ' The 
mistrust of the leaders is directed above all against those who 
aspire to command their own organizations. Every oligarchy is 
full of suspicion towards those who aspire to enter its ranks, 
regarding them not simply as eventual heirs but as successors 
who are ready to supplant them without waiting for a natural 
death. Those who have long been in possession (and this applies 
just as much to spiritual and psychical possession as to mate- 
rial) are proud of their past, and are therefore inclined to look 

® Speech made by Ferri at Suzzara, reported in "Stampa," anno xlvii, 
No. 358 (December 27, 1909). 


down upon those whose ownership is of more recent date. In 
certain Sicilian towns, struggles go on between two parties who 
in popular phrase are ironically termed i ricchi and gli arricchiti 
(the wealthy and those who have attained to wealth). The 
former consists of the old landed gentry; whilst the latter, the 
parvenus, are merchants, contractors for public works, manu- 
facturers, and the like.^ A similar struggle makes its appear- 
ance in modern democratic parties, although it is not in this case 
characterized by any flavour of economic distinction. Here also 
we have a struggle between the detenteurs d'emploi et les cher- 
cheiirs d'emploi, or as the Americans put it, between the "ins" 
and the "outs." The latter declare war on the former, osten- 
sibly on the ground of eternal principle, but in reality, in most 
cases, because in such opposition they find the most effective 
means of forcing their way into the circle of the chiefs. Conse- 
quently in meetings they display themselves as implacable the- 
oretical adversaries, "talking big" solely in order to intimidate 
the accepted leaders, and in order to induce them to surrender a 
share of the spoil to these turbulent comrades. Often enough, 
the old leaders resist, and maintain their ground firmly ; in such 
cases their opponents, changing front, abandon the attitude of 
struggle, and attach themselves to the triumphal car of the men 
in power, hoping thus to attract favour, and, by a different route, 
to realize their own ambitions.^" 

The struggle between the old leaders and the aspirants to 
power constitutes a perpetual menace to freedom of speech and 
thought. "We encounter this menace in every democratic organ- 
ization in so far as it is well ordered and solidly grounded, and 
in so far as it is operating in the field of party politics (for in 
the wider life of the state, in which the various parties are in 
continual reciprocal concussion, it is necessary to leave intact a 
certain liberty of movement) .^^ The leaders, those who already 
hold the power of the party in their hands, make no conceal- 

' Giacomo Montalto, La Questione sociale e il Partito socialista, Soeieta 
Editriee Lombarda, Milan 1895, p. 81. — The description of the landed 
gentry as "the rich" is a striking confirmation of the truth of Sombart's 
view, that, in the case of a hereditarily gentle class, wealth is a natural 
attribute, psychologically and socially congenital, qualitative rather than 
quantitative (cf. Sombart, Die deutsche Volkswirtschaft, etc., ed. cit., p. 

" Ostrogorsky, Organisation de la Demoeratie, ed. cit., vol. ii, pp. 203, 
206, and 363. 

" ' ' Experience shows only too clearly that, wherever democracy is tending 


ment of their natural inclination to control as strictly as pos- 
sible the freedom of speech of those of their colleagues from 
whom they differ. 

The consequence is that those in office are great zealots for 
discipline and subordination, declaring that these qualities are 
indispensable to the very existence of the party. They go so 
far as to exercise a censorship over any of their colleagues 
whom they suspect of rebellious inclinations, forcing them to 
abandon independent journals, and to publish all their 
articles in the official organs controlled by the leaders of 
the majority in the party. The prohibition, in the German 
socialist partj^, of collaboration on the part of its members with 
the capitalist press, is in part due to the same tendency ; whilst 
the demand that the comrades should have nothing to do with 
periodicals which, though socialist, are founded with private cap- 
ital and are not subject to the official control of the party exec- 
utive, arises solely from this suspicion on the part of the leaders.^^ 
In the struggle against the young aspirants, the old leader can 
as a rule count securely upon the support of the masses. The 
rank and file of the working-class parties have a certain natural 
■. distrust of all new-comers who have not been openly protected 
or introduced into the party by old comrades ; and this is above 
all the case when the new-comer is derived from another social 
class. Thus the new recruit, before he can come into the open 
with his new ideas, must submit, if he is not to be exposed to 
the most violent attacks, to a long period of quarantine. In the 
German socialist party, this period of quarantine is especially 
protracted, for the reason that the German party has been longer 
established than any of the others, and because its leaders there- 
fore enjoy an exceptional prestige. Many of them were among 
the actual founders of the party, and their personalities have 
been consecrated by the baptism of fire which they suffered dur- 
ing the enforcement of the anti-socialist laws. A socialist who 
has had his party card in his pocket for eight or ten years is 
often regarded in his branch as a "young" member. This ten- 
dency is reinforced by the respect for age which is so strong 
among the Germans, and by the tendency towards hierarchy of 

to degenerate, freedom of speech and the press are the first to perish" 
(Eoscher, PolitiTc, ed. cit., p. 324). 

^^Cf. the discussions of the congresses of the German socialist party at 
Munich (FrotoJcoll, pp. 255 et seq.) and at Dresden (ProtoJcoll, pp. 158 
i et seq.) 

rivalry; or: leaders 171 

which even the democracy has not been able to divest itself. 
Finally, it may be added that the bureaucracy of the German 
labour movement, like every strongly developed bureaucracy, 
tends instinctively towards exclusivism. Consequently in the 
German social democracy, in contradistinction to other socialist 
parties which are less solidly organized, we find that not merely 
the recently enrolled member of the party (the so-called Fuchs), 
but also the ordinary member who does not live in the service 
and by the service of the party but has preserved his outward 
independence as a private author or in some other capacity, and 
has therefore not been incorporated among the cogwheels of 
the party machine, very rarely succeeds in making his influence 
felt. There can be no doubt that this fact plays a large part in 
the causation of that lack of a number of capable young men, 
displaying fresh energies, and not greatly inferior to the old 
leaders, a lack which has often been deplored. The annual con- 
gresses of the socialist party have even been spoken of as "con- 
gresses of the party officials." The criticism is not unjust, for 
among the delegates to the socialist congresses the percentage of 
party and trade-union officials is enormous.^^ It is above all in 
the superior grades of the organization that the tendencies we 
are here analysing are especially conspicuous. In Germany, the 
management of the socialist party is not entrusted to young men, 
as often happens in Italy, or to free publicists, as in France, but 
to old members, des anciens, elderly officials of the party. More- 
over, the conservative psychology of the masses supports the as- 
pirations of the old leaders, for it would never occur to the rank 
and file to entrust the care of their interests to persons belong- 
ing to their own proper sphere, that is to say, to those who have 
no official position in the party and who have not pursued a 
regular bureaucratic career.^* 

Often the struggle between the old leaders in possession of 
power and the new aspirants assumes the aspects of a struggle 

"Cf. pp. 120, 127. 

"In Frankfort- Nordend the list proposed for the election of delegates 
to the congress of Nuremberg, 1908, drawn up in accordance with the 
express wishes of the district assemblies of the party, contained, among 
eleven names, those of eight officials of the labour movement (two socialist 
journalists, one party secretary, one secretary of trades council, one organ- 
izer, one trade-union employee, one insurance-bureau employee, and one 
cooperative salesman) as compared with three simple wage-earners who were 
not dependent upon working-class organizations (Frankfort " Volksstimme, " 
Supplement 188, 1908). 


between responsible and irresponsible persons.^^ Many criti- 
cisms levelled by the latter against the former are beside the 
mark, because the leaders have grave responsibilities from which 
the aspirants are free. This freedom gives the aspirants a tacti- 
cal advantage in their conflict with the old leaders. Moreover, 
precisely because they are irresponsible, because they do not 
occupy any official position in the party, the opponents are not 
subject to that simulacrum of democratic control which must in- 
fluence the conduct of those in office. 

In order to combat the new chiefs, who are still in a minority, 
the old leaders of the majority instinctively avail themselves of a 
series of underhand methods through which they often secure 
victory, or at least notably retard defeat. Among these means, 
there is one which will have to be more fully discussed in an- 
other connection. The leaders of what we may term the ''gov- 
ernment ' ' arouse in the minds of the masses distrust of the lead- 
ers of the ' ' opposition ' ' by labelling them incompetent and pro- 
fane, terming them spouters, corrupters of the party, dema- 
gogues, and humbugs, whilst in the name of the mass and of 
democracy they describe themselves as exponents of the collec- 
tive will, and demand the submission of the insubordinate and 
even of the merely discontented comrades. 

In the struggle among the leaders an appeal is often made to 
loftier motives. When the members of the executive claim the 
right to intervene in the democratic functions of the individual 
sections of the organization, they base this claim upon their 
more comprehensive grasp of all the circumstances of the case, 
their profounder insight, their superior socialist culture and 
keener socialist sentiment. They often claim the right of refus- 
ing to accept the new elements which the inexpert and ignorant 
masses desire to associate with them in the leadership, basing 
their refusal on the ground that it is necessary to sustain the 
moral and theoretical level of the party. The revolutionary so- 
cialists of Germany demand the maintenance of the centralized 
power of the executive committee as a means of defence against 
the dangers, which would otherwise become inevitable as the 

*" In socialist and trade-union literature this aspect of the problem has 
often been discussed. Cf. Filippo Turati, II Partito socialista e Vattuale 
Momenta politico, Uffici della "Critiea Sociale, " Milan, 1901, 3rd ed., 
p. 19; Paul Kampffmeyer, Die Entwicklung der deutschen Gewerlcschaften, 
"Annalen fiir Soziale Politik und Gesetzgebung, " vol. i, fase. 1, pp. 114 
et seq. 


party grows, of the predominant influence of new and theoreti- 
cally untrustworthy elements. The old leaders, it is said, must 
control the masses, lest these should force undesirable colleagues 
upon them. Hence they claim that the constituencies must not 
nominate parliamentary candidates without the previous ap- 
proval of the party executive.^® 

"Kautsky defends this claim. "The greater the increase in our voting 
strength, the greater the dearth of candidates, the more remote from the 
great centres of economic, political, and intellectual life are many con- 
stituencies with socialist majorities, the more essential does it become that 
the party organizations in the individual constituencies should not possess 
absolute sovereignty in the choice of candidates, but that the right of selec- 
tion should be vested in the party as a -whole. The best way of securing 
this is that in the case of candidates for the diet the constituencies should 
secure the approval of the territorial executive or territorial congress, and 
in the case of candidates for the Eeiehstag that of the territorial executive 
and of the central executive. In 1876 the party congress decided the various 
candidatures to the Eeiehstag, in so far as time permitted. But in the case 
of a number of candidatures it was necessary that the selection should 
be entrusted to the electoral committee appointed by the congress. It is 
obvious that there are several different ways in which the party as a whole 
may exercise a determinative influence in the choice of candidates. Which 
of these ways is the most practical need not here be discussed. The 
point of immediate importance is to recognize, in principle, that the selection 
of a candidate for the Eeiehstag is a matter which concerns the party 
as a whole quite as much as it concerns the individual constituency." The 
expression "the party as a whole" is naturally to be understood as synony- 
mous with "the party executive." Kautsky continues: "Of course the 
choice of candidates must not be exclusively in the hands of the party 
executive or of a central electoral committee. The comrades in the con- 
stituencies have to shoulder most of the electoral work and it is upon 
them that success in the election mainly depends. It would certainly be 
preposterous to force upon them a candidate whom they did not want. But 
on the other hand the constituency must not have the right to force upon 
the party a parliamentary representative whom the majority in the party 
has serious reasons to dislike. The local organizations must choose their 
own candidates in the first instance. But the candidatures must always be 
approved by the party as a whole. ... It may, indeed, sometimes be de- 
sirable that the party, or its executive, should itself nominate the candidate. 
This will be the case especially in those states in which the number of safe 
constituencies is extremely small. Here the selection of candidates must 
not be left solely to the play of local influences. The party has a right 
to demand that in the safe constituencies those candidates shall be run 
whose presence in parliament is absolutely indispensable. It is owing to 
the unrestricted autonomy of the constituencies that in Austria such a man 
as Victor Adler has been excluded from the house of representatives for 
two parliaments in succession, and it is doubtful if he will secure a seat 
at the forthcoming elections. But as far as the German Empire is con- 
cerned, the number of safe constituencies is so large, that these considera- 


The old leaders always endeavour to harness to their own 
chariot the forces of those new movements which have not yet 
found powerful leaders, so as to obviate from the first all com- 
petition and all possibility of the formation of new and vigorous 
intellectual currents. In Germany, the leaders of the socialist 
party and the trade-union leaders at first looked askance at the 
Young Socialist movement. When, however, they perceived that 
this movement could not be suppressed, they hastened to place 
themselves at its head. There was founded for the guidance of 
the socialist youth a ''Central Committee of Young German 
Workers," comprising four representatives from each of the 
th^ee parties, that is to say, four from the executive of the social- 
ist party, four from the general committee of trade unions, and 
four from the Young Socialists (the representatives of the lat- 
ter being thus outnumbered by two to one).^^ The old leaders 
endeavour to justify the tutelage thus imposed on the Young 
Socialists by alleging (with more opportunist zeal than logical 
acuteness) the incapacity of the youthful masses, if left to their 
own guidance, of wisely choosing their own leaders and of exer- 
cising over these an efficient control.^^ 

We have by no means come to an end of our enumeration of 
the weapons at the disposal of the old leaders in their conflict 
with the new aspirants to power. Charlemagne effected the final 
subjugation of the Saxon tribal chiefs by making them counts. 
In this way he not only increased the brilliancy of their position, 
but also gave them a restricted share in his own power. This 
means has been practised again and again in history, where an 
old ruler has wished to render harmless, insubordinate but influ- 
ential chiefs, and thus to prevent a rebellion against his own 
authority. Oligarchies employ this stratagem with just as much 
success as monarchies. The feudal state of Prussia appointed to 
the privy council the most defiant among the leaders of its bour- 
geoisie. At a time when the youthful German bourgeoisie was 
still filled with a rebellious spirit towards the nobility and to- 
wards the traditional authority of the state, this tendency aroused 

tions hardly apply" (Karl Kautsky, WaMkreis und Partei, "Neuo Zeit," 
xxii. No. 28, p. 36). 

""Frankisehe Tagespost," anno xxxix, No. 191, Supplement 2. 

18 ( I rpjjg associations of the Young Socialists are impotent vis-a-via their 
leaders, lacking the force and adroitness which would enable them to 
avoid the arbitrary rule of these" (Max Kette, Die Jugendbewegung, 
"Neue Zeit," xxviii. No. 9). 


much bitterness. Thus Ludwig Borne wrote in 1830: "Wher- 
ever a talented force of opposition has made itself apparent and 
has secured respect from those in authority, it is chained to the 
professorial chair, or is controlled by being harnessed to the gov- 
ernment. If the governmental ranks are full, so that no place 
can be found for the new energies, a state livery is at least pro- 
vided for the authors by giving them titles and orders. In other 
eases the dangerous elements are isolated from the people by 
immuring them in some noble's castle or princely court. It is 
for this reason that nowhere else do we find so many privy coun- 
cillors as in Germany, where the courts are least inclined to take 
any one's advice." ^^ In the Spanish elections of 1875, we learn 
that so great was the popular indifference that the government 
had matters altogether in its own hands, but in order to be se- 
cure in any event it thoughtfully selected a certain number of 
opposition candidates.-" It seems that things are much the same 
in Spain even to-day.^^ These tactics are not confined to states 
that are still permeated by feudal conceptions. Where pluto- 
cratic rule is supreme, corruption persists unchanged, and it is 
only the corrupter who is different. This is plainly shown by 
Austin Lewis when he writes: "The public ownership contin- 
gent in politics being composed of the middle and subjugated 
class have neither the political ability nor the vital energy nec- 
essary for the accomplishment of the task which they have under- 
taken. The brains of the smaller middle class have already been 
bought by the greater capitalists. Talent employed in the serv- 
ice of the chiefs of industry and finance can command better 
prices than can be obtained in the uncertain struggle for eco- 
nomic standing which members of the middle class have to wage. 
The road to professional and political preferment lies through 
the preserves of the ruling oligarchy, whose wardens allow no 
one to pass, save servants in livery. Every material ambition of 
youth is to be gratified in the service of the oligarchy, which 
shows, generally, an astuteness in the selection of talent that 
would do credit to a bureaucrat or a Jesuit.^^ 

Of late years the ruling classes in the countries under a demo- 

^'■'Ludwig Borne, Aus meinem Tageiuche, Eeelam, Leipzig, p. 57. 

^'' Denkwiirdiglceiten des Fursten Eohenlohe, ed. cit., p. 376. 

'^Nicolas Salmeron y Garcia, L'etat espagnol et la Solidarite catalane, 
**Le Courier Europeen, " iv. No. 23. 

=- Austin Lewis, The Rise of the American Proletarian, Charles H. Kerr 
& Co., Chicago, 1907, pp. 189-190. 


cratie regime have hoped to impose obstacles in the way of the 
revolutionary labour movement by conceding posts in the min- 
istry to its most conspicuous leaders, thus gaining control over 
the revolutionary impulse of the proletariat by allowing its lead- 
ers to participate in power, though cautiously and in an ex- 
tremely restricted measure. The oligarchy which controls the 
modern democratic party has often employed the same means 
to tame the opposition. If the leaders of the opposition within 
the party are dangerous because they have a large following 
among the masses, and if they are at the same time few in num- 
ber, the old party-leaders endeavour to hold them in check and 
to neutralize their influence by the conciliatory methods just de- 
scribed. The leaders of the opposition receive high offices and 
honours in the party, and are thus rendered innocuous — all the 
more so seeing that they are not admitted to the supreme offices, 
but are relegated to posts of the second rank which give them 
no notable influence, and they are without hope of one day be- 
coming a majority. On the other hand, they divide with their 
ancient adversaries the serious weight of responsibility which is 
generated by common deliberations and manifestations, so that 
their activities become confounded with those of the old leaders.^^ 
In order to avoid having to divide their power with new ele- 

^^ The history of the socialist party alike in Austria and in Germany 
affords niimerous examples of minorities which were at first pugnacious and 
rebellious, but which have allowed themselves to be disarmed in this man- 
ner. The leaders of the opposition to the party executive at the Salzburg 
congress of the Austrian socialists in 1904, and also those at the Bremen 
congress of the German socialists held in the same year, have since then 
become members of the superior order of leaders and have been elected 
deputies to the parliaments of their respective countries. Simultaneously 
they have abandoned their attitude of opposition. The most typical ex- 
ample, however, occurred among the Dutch socialists in the spring of 
1909. Here the reformist majority endeavoured to gain control of 
the party executive through the criticism which was levelled against the re- 
formists by some of the particularly hardy members of the opposition. 
These latter, the so-called Marxist group of the "Niewe Tijd, " had their 
own organ, an independent and private review; now the reformist leaders 
of the party proposed to create a joint review, edited by the party and 
therefore subject to the control of the party, on condition that the Marxists 
should renounce the "Niewe Tijd. " This was an extremely ingenious 
scheme for drawing their opponents' teeth. The democratic parties in 
America exhibit analogous phenomena. Ostrogorsky writes: "La machine 
est prete a tout faire, meme a faire aux recalcitrants une place sur le 
tiquet" (Ostrogorsky, Organisation de la Democratie, etc., ed. cit., vol. ii, p. 


ments, especially such as are uncongenial by tendency or mental 
characteristics, the old leaders tend everywhere with greater or 
less success to acquire the right of choosing their own colleagues, 
thus depriving the masses of the privilege of appointing the 
leaders they themselves prefer.-* 

The path of the new aspirants to power is always beset with 
difficulties, bestrewn with obstacles of all kinds, which can be 
overcome only by the favour of the mass. Yery rarely does the 
struggle between the old leaders and the new end in the com- 
plete defeat of the former. The result of the process is not so 
much a circidation des elites as a reunion des elites, an amalgam, 
that is to say, of the two elements. Those representing the new 
tendency, as long as their footing is still insecure, seek all sorts 
of side paths in order to avoid being overthro\\Ti by the powers- 
that-be. They protest that their divergence from the views of 
the majority is trifling, contending that they are merely the 
logical advocates of the ancient and tried principles of the party, 
and express their regret that the old leaders display a lack of 
true democratic feeling. Not infrequently it happens that they 
avert the blows directed against them by craftily creeping be- 
hind the backs of their established and powerful opponents who 
are about to annihilate them, solemnly declaring, when wrathful 
blows are directed against them, that they are in complete ac- 
cord with the old leaders and approve of all their actions, so 
that the leaders seem to be beating the air. On many occasions 
in the recent history of the socialist parties, the reformist minor- 
ities, in order to avoid destruction, have bowed themselves be- 
neath the yoke of the so-called revolutionary majorities by voting 
(with a fine practical and tactical sense, but with an entire lack 
of personal pride and political loyalty) resolutions which were 
drafted precisely in order to condemn the political views dear to 
the minority.^^ In two cases only does it sometimes happen that 

"The reader's attention may be recalled to what has been said on pp. 
103, 104. 

" At the Dresden congress, 1903, the German reformists found no difficulty 
in voting for the so-called "Dresden resolution," which subsequently at- 
tained an international status, having been brought forward by the French 
Marxists at the international congress of Amsterdam, 1904, where it was 
solemnly reconfirmed. It is indisputable that this motion was directed 
against the reformists, since it erpressly condemns all participation by 
socialists in the government. Eleven only among the 268 reformist delegates 
had a sense of duty and political honesty or personal rectitude sufficiently 
Strong to induce them to vote against the resolution. (Cf. the remarks on 


the relationships between the two tendencies become strained to 
the breaking-point. In the first place this may happen when the 
leaders of one of the two factions possess a profound faith in 
their own ideas, and are characterized at once by tactical fanati- 
cism and theoretical irreconcilability — or, in other words, when 
the objective reasons which divide them from their opponents are 
felt with an unaccustomed force and are professed with an un- 
wonted sincerity. In the second place it may happen when one of 
the parties, in consequence of offended dignity or reasonable sus- 
ceptibility, finds it psychologically impossible to continue to live 
with the other, and to carry on within the confines of the same 
association a continued struggle for dominion over the masses. 
The party will then break up into two distinct organisms, and 
in each of these there will be renewed the oligarchical phenomena 
we have been describing. 

One of the most interesting chapters in the history of the strug- 
gles between leaders deals with the measures which these leaders 
adopt within their own closed corporations in order to maintain 
discipline — that is to say, in order to preserve the cementing 
force of the will of the majority. In the struggle which the va- 
rious groups of leaders carry on for the hegemony of the party, 
the concept of democracy becomes a lure which all alike employ. 

this matter of Lily Braun, Memoiren einer SosialisUn. KampfjaJire, 
Langen, Munich, 1911, p. 512). The Austrian socialist, Victor Adler, whose 
views are most closely akin to the reformists of the German party, wrote 
in the Viennese "Arbeiter Zeitung" concerning the stratagem adopted by 
the majority of the reformists: "Secondly, the vote means that those 
who are termed reformists regard the moment as unfavourable for the 
decisive and open declaration of their opinions and still more unfavourable 
for the display of the smallness of their numbers. They are indeed so few 
that the minority has preferred to hide itself by mingling with the major- 
ity" (from the reprint in the "Mainzer Volkszeitung, " 1903, No. 225). 
A counterpart to this is furnished by the action of the Italian reformists 
at the socialist congress at Rome, 1906. Here the reformists avoided a de- 
feat only by associating themselves (although their adhesion was repu- 
diated by the majority) with a resolution brought forward by the integral- 
ists under the leadership of Ferri, a resolution which was expressly directed 
against them and which contained various matters irreconcilable with the 
reformist theory. Thus they met the attack against them by running 
away. Among the Italian reformists there were not wanting some who 
regarded this action as inconsistent and politically dishonourable (Besoconto 
stenografico del IX Congresso Nazionale a Boma, 1906, Mongini, Eome, 
1907, pp. 275 et seq.). Among those who voted against the resolution 
were such men as Antonio Graziadei and Alessandro Tasca di Cut6, be- 
longing to the old aristocracy of birth, and perhaps for this reason in- 
clined to take a more elevated view of human dignity. 

rivalry; of leaders 179 

All means are good for the conquest iand preservation of power. 
It is easy to see this when we read the discussions concerning 
the system to be employed for the appointment of the party ex- 
ecutive. The various tendencies manifested in this connection 
all aim at the same end, namely, at safeguarding the dominance 
of some particular group. Thus in France the Guesdists, whose 
adherents are numerous but who control a small number only 
of the groups, advocate a system of proportional representation ; 
the Jauressists, on the other hand, who are more influential in 
respect of groups than of members, and also the Herveists, op- 
pose proportional representation within the party, for they fear 
that this would give the Guesdists group too great a facility for 
the enforcement of its own special methods of action, and they 
propose to maintain the system of local representation or of rep- 
resentation by delegation.^*^ 

In the American Congress, each party possesses a special com- 
mittee which exercises a control over the attendance of its mem- 
bers at the sessions, and which on the occasion of decisive votes 
issues special summonses or * ' whips. ' ' When an interesting bill 
is before the house, the party committee also summons a caucus, 
that is to say, a private meeting of the parliamentary group, and 
this decides how the congressmen are to vote. All members of 
the party are bound by the decision of such a caucus. Naturally 
no immediate punishment is possible of those who rebel against 
the authority of the caucus; but at the next election the inde- 
pendent congressman is sure to lose his seat, for the party-man- 
agers at "Washington will not fail to report to their colleagues, 
the bosses of the local constituency, the act of insubordination 
committed by the congressman concerned. The most vital of all 
the caucuses is that which precedes the election of the speaker 
of the congress. The ideas and sympathies of the speaker have 
a decisive influence upon the composition of the committees and 
therefore upon the whole course of legislation. For this reason 
his election is of fundamental importance, and is preceded for 
several weeks by intrigues and vote-hunting campaigns. Doubt- 
less it is not in every case that the votes are decided in advance 
at a meeting of the group. Where laws of minor importance are 
concerned, every member of Congress is free to vote as he pleases. 
But in times of excitement obedience is exacted, not only to the 
decisions of the caucus, but also to the authority of the party 

*^ Cf . the Paris correspondence of ' ' Avanti, ' ' anno xv, No. 16, 


leaders. This last applies especially to Congress, for in the Sen- 
ate the members are extremely jealous of their absolute equality. 
On the other hand, the caucus has an even greater importance in 
the case of the Senate, for here the groups are smaller and the 
caucus can therefore function more efficiently. The groups in 
Congress may number more than two hundred members, whereas 
those of the Senate rarely exceed fifty .^^ 

The parliamentary group of the German social democracy is 
likewise dominated, as far as its internal structure is concerned, 
by a most rigorous application of the principle of subordination. 
The majority of the parliamentary group decides the action of 
all its members on the various questions submitted to the Reichs- 
tag or to the diets, exercising what is known as the Fraktion- 
szwang (group coercion). No individual member has the right 
to independent action. Thus the parliamentary group votes as 
a single entity, and this not merely in questions of a distinctively 
socialist bearing, but also in those which are independent of so- 
cialist ideas, and which each might decide according to his own 
personal conceptions. It was very different in the French parlia- 
ment during the fratricidal struggle between the Jauressists and 
the Guesdists before the attainment of socialist unity in France, 
for at that time each deputy used to vote as he pleased. But 
the German example shows that liberty of opinion no longer ex- 
ists where the organization demands common action and where 
it has some force of penetration in political life. 

In certain cases, however, all these preventive measures fail 
of their effect. This happens when the conflict is not simply be- 
tween a minority and a majority within the group, but between 
the group and one single member who possesses outside parlia- 
ment, in certain sections of the party, the full support of the 
subordinate leaders. When a conflict occurs in such conditions, 
the deputy, though isolated, is sure of victory. The electors, in 
fact, usually follow with great docility the oscillations and evo- 
lutions of their parliamentary representatives, and they do this 
even in constituencies where socialist voters predominate. The 
ministers Briand, Viviani, and Millerand have been expelled 
from the French socialist party, but the former members of the 
socialist organizations in their constituencies have remained faith- 
ful to these leaders, resigning from the socialist party, and con- 
tinuing as electors to give the ex-socialists their support. Anal- 

^' Bryce, The American Commonwealth, abridged ed., Macmillan, New 
York, 1907, pp. 152-3. 


ogous were the eases of Jolm Burns in England (Battersea) and 
of Enrico Ferri in Italy (Mantua). It was enough in Ferri's 
case that at an appropriate moment he should reveal a new truth 
to produce immediately a collective change in the political opin- 
ions of an entire region. Having first been, with Ferri, revo- 
lutionary and irreconcilable, this region became converted in a 
single nightj always following Ferri, to the principle of class 
co-operation and of participation in ministerial activity.^® In 
Germany, the party executive had to make use of all its author- 
ity in order^ at the last minute, to induce the comrades of Chem- 
nitz to withdraw their support from their deputy Max Schippel, 
and those of Mittweida from Otto Gohre, when these two depu- 
ties had displayed heterodox leanings. 

The tendency of the deputy to set himself above his party is 
most plainly manifest precisely where the party is strongly or- 
ganized ; especially, therefore, in the modern labour parties ; and 
within these, again, more particularly in the reformist sections. 
The reformist deputies, as long as they have not upon their side 
a majority within the party, carry on an unceasing struggle to 
withdraw themselves from the influence of the party, that is to 
say, from the mass of the workers who are organized as a party. 
In this period of their evolution they transfer their dependence 
upon the organized mass of the local socialist section to the elec- 
tors of the constituency, who constitute a grey, unorganized, and 
more or less indifferent mass. Thus from the organized masses, 
who may be under the influence of their opponents within the 
party, they appeal to the mass of the electors, with the conten- 
tion that it is to these latter alone, or at least chiefly, that they 
have to give an account of their political conduct. It is right 
to recognize that this appeal to the electorate as the body 
which has conferred a political mandate is frequently 
based upon genuinely democratic sentiments and principles. 
Thus, at the international socialist congress of London (1893), 
the four French socialist deputies refused to make use of the 

=^Cf. a polemic article wherein Giovanni Zibordi gives an account of a 
visit made by Ferri to Mantua after his political volte-face. Zibordi speaks 
of the "triumphal tour" of the adored leader, and deplores how Ferri and 
Gatti ''passed through the region of Mantua. . . amid the hurrahs of the 
workers who knew no better, while accompanied by the impotent disdain and 
grief of the socialists who saw thus installed a dangerous dictatorship, a 
personal dominion which is the negation of our principles and our methods" 
(Giovanni Zibordi, Quel die succede nel Mantovano, "Avanti," anno 
XV, No. 119). 


mandates which had been conferred upon them by political or 
corporative groups, thus defying the rules of admission to the 
congress. After extremely violent discussions they were ulti- 
mately admitted simply as deputies, having raised the question 
of principle whether an important constituency capable of re- 
turning a socialist deputy to the Chamber should not have the 
same rights which are granted to a local socialist or trade-union 
branch, especially when it is remembered that such a branch may 
consist of a mere handful of members. ^^ It is true that in cer- 
tain circumstances a constituency inspired by socialist sentiment, 
even if it be not socialistically organized, constitutes a better ba- 
sis, in the democratic sense, for political action than a small so- 
cialist branch whose members are mostly petty bourgeois or law- 
yers ; ^° and even if a large local organization exists, the constit- 
uency as a whole is a better basis than a badly attended party 
meeting for the selection of a candidate.^^ 

From our study of the intricate struggles which proceed be- 
tween the leaders of the majority and those of the minority, be- 
tween the executive organs and the masses, we may draw the 
following essential conclusions. 

Notwithstanding the youth of the international labour move- 
ment, the figures of the leaders of that movement are more im- 
posing and more imperious than those displayed in the history 
of any other social class of modern times. Doubtless the labour 
movement furnishes certain examples of leaders who have been 
deposed, who have been abandoned by their adherents. Such 
cases are, however, rare, and only in exceptional instances do 
they signify that the masses have been stronger than the lead- 
ers. As a rule, they mean merely that a new leader has entered 
into conflict with the old, and, thanks to the support of the mass, 

^ Hubert Lagardelle, Les Origines du Syndicalisme en France, ' ' Mouve- 
ment Soeialiste, " anno xi, Nos. 215-216, p. 249. 

^° It is well to remind English readers that on the Continent, and especially 
in France and Italy, barristers play a conspicuous part in the oligarchy of 
socialism, corresponding with that which in England they play in the old 
political parties. — Translators' Note. 

^^ Einaldo Eigola, the socialist secretary of the Italian General Confedera- 
tion of Labour, describes the socialist party as an oligarchy, and therefore 
contests its right to present candidatures for the elections and to decide 
the policy of the proletariat. In his view, these functions should rather 
be allotted to the labour organizations, whose membership is far more ex- 
tensive and which could constitute themselves into a Labour Party (Rinaldo 
Eigola, Discutendo di un Partito del Lavoro, " Avanti," anno xiv, No. 172). 


has prevailed in the struggle, and has been able to dispossess and 
replace the old leader.^- The profit for democracy of such a sub- 
stitution is practically nil. 

Whenever the Catholics are in a minority, they become fer- 
vent partisans of liberty. In proof of this we need merely refer 
to the literature issued by the Catholics during the Kidturkampf 
under the Bismarckian regime and during the struggle between 
Church and State which went on a few years ago in France. In 
just the same way the leaders of the minority within the social- 
ist party are enthusiastic advocates of liberty. They declaim 
against the narrowness and the authoritative methods of the 
dominant group/^ displaying in their own actions genuine demo- 
cratic inclinations.^* 

'^Eichard Calwer, in a declaration to the socialist press, gives the fol- 
lowing account of his dethronement as a party leader: " 'Vorwarts' and 
the 'Leipziger Volkszeitung ' accept as a matter of principle the resolution 
of the party conference of the third Eeichstag-eonstitueney of Brunswick, 
by which it was decided to repudiate my candidature in future. They do 
this without reflecting upon the moral poverty which the decision exhibits 
for the party. The dissatisfaction of the comrades in the constituency 
with my economic views is supposed to have increased gradually, and at 
length to have become overwhelming. It is strange that during the entire 
sixteen years during which I have been a candidate in this constituency 
there was not until about a year ago the slightest manifestation of dis- 
satisfaction among the comrades in the electorate. Yet never throughout 
this period have I made any secret of my views. The local comrades have 
been familiar with them from the first and have never, for this reason, 
wished to remove their confidence. The alleged divergencies 'in matters 
of principle' date from no more than a year back, having begun precisely 
at the moment when comrade Antrick came to Brunswick as secretary. 
What reasons there were to induce this comrade to attack me ' on principle, ' 
I do not know. In any case, I neither had nor have inclination or time 
to trouble myself about personal quarrels and to dispute with comrade 
Antrick" (" Volksstimme, " August 15, 1907). 

^ Cf ., for example, the pamphlet issued by the displaced members of 
the staff of "Vorwarts," Der VorwdrtsJconfliJct, Gesammelte AktenstiicTce 
(Birk, Munich 1905), in which we read: "We are not here concerned 
merely with the moral position of the journalists within the party; the 
present conflict is a matter of decisive importance to the internal wellbeing 
of the German labour movement. The question at issue is that of the 
dignity of all the responsible persons in the confidence of the democracy. 
What has to be decided is whether a system of absolute publicity is 
to be replaced by a secret method of jurisdiction; whether open discus- 
sion is to yield to the crafty dissemination of suspicions; whether obscure 
intrigue is to oust comradely confidence; whether blind caprice is to be 

^ Cf . p. 18. 


As soon as the new leaders have attained their ends, as soon as 
they have succeeded (in the name of the injured rights of the 
anonymous masses) in overthrowing the odious tyranny of their 
predecessors and in attaining to power in their turn, we see them 
undergo a, transformation which renders them in every respect 
similar to the dethroned tyrants.^^ Such metamorphoses as 
these are plainly recorded throughout history. In the life of 
monarchical states, an opposition which is headed by hereditary 
princes is rarely dangerous to the crown as an institution. In 
like manner, the opposition of the aspirants to leadership in a 
political party, directed against the persons or against the system 
of the old leaders, is seldom dangerous. The revolutionaries of 
to-day become the reactionaries of to-morrow. 

more effective than reasoned conviction; whether arbitrary opinion is to 
be more influential than established fact — whether, in a word, a regime 
of glib demagogy, of personal ambition, and the most unscrupulous place- 
hunting, is to be established in the' German social democracy ! ' ' 

35 ( c -^ijg]! lie ijas the power in his own hands, he ignores the laws which 
were made for his restraint" (Giambattista Casti, Gli Animali parlanti, 
Poema, Tip. Vanelli e Comp., Lugano, 1824, vol. i, p. 30). 



The organization of the state needs a numerous and compli- 
cated bureaucracy. This is an important factor in the complex 
of forces of which the politically dominant classes avail them- 
selves to secure their dominion and to enable themselves to keep 
their hands upon the rudder. 

The instinct of self-preservation leads the modern state to as- 
semble and to attach to itself the greatest possible number of 
interests. This need of the organism of the state increases pari 
passu with an increase among the multitude, of the conviction 
that the contemporary social order is defective and even irra- 
tional — in a word, with the increase of what the authorities are 
accustomed to term discontent. The state best fulfils the need 
for securing a large number of defenders by constituting a nu- 
merous caste of officials, of persons directly dependent upon the 
state. This tendency is powerfully reinforced by the tendencies 
of modern political economy. On the one hand, from the side of 
the state, there is an enormous supply of official positions. On 
the other hand, among the citizens, there is an even more exten- 
sive demand. This demand is stimulated by the ever-increasing 
precariousness in the position of the middle classes (the smaller 
manufacturers and traders, independent artizans, farmers, etc.) 
since there have come into existence expropriative capitalism on 
the grand scale, on the one hand, and the organized working 
classes on the other — for both these movements, whether they 
wish it or not, combine to injure the middle classes. All those 
whose material existence is thus threatened by modern economic 
developments endeavour to find safe situations for their sons, 
to secure for these a social position which shall shelter them from 
the play of economic forces. Employment under the state, with 
the important right to a pension which attaches to such employ- 
ment, seems created expressly for their needs. The immeasur- 
able demand for situations which results from these conditions, a 



demand which is always greater than the supply, creates the so- 
called * * intellectual proletariat. ' ' The numbers of this body are 
subject to great fluctuations. From time to time the state, em- 
barrassed by the increasing demand for positions in its service, 
is forced to open the sluices of its bureaucratic canals in order 
to admit thousands of new postulants and thus to transform 
these from dangerous adversaries into zealous defenders and par- 
tisans. There are two classes of intellectuals. One consists of 
those who have succeeded in securing a post at the manger of 
the state, whilst the other consists of those who, as Scipio Sighele 
puts it, have assaulted the fortress without being able to force 
their way in.^ The former may be compared to an army of slaves 
who are always ready, in part from class egoism, in part for per- 
sonal motives (the fear of losing their own situations), to under- 
take the defence of the state which provides them with bread. 
They do this whatever may be the question concerning which 
the state has been attacked and must therefore be regarded as the 
most faithful of its supporters. The latter, on the other hand, 
are sworn enemies of the state. They are those eternally restless 
spirits who lead the bourgeois opposition and in part also assume 
the leadership of the revolutionary parties of the proletariat. It 
is true that the state bureaucracy does not in general expand as 
rapidly as do the discontented elements of the middle class. None 
the less, the bureaucracy continually increases. It comes to as- 
sume the form of an endless screw. It grows ever less and less 
compatible with the general welfare. And yet this bureaucratic 
machinery remains essential. Through it alone can be satisfied 
the claim of the educated members of the population for secure 
positions. It is further a means of self-defence for the state. 
As the late Amilcare Puviani of the University of Perugia, the 
political economist to whom we are indebted for an important 
work upon the legend of the state, expresses it, the mechanism of 
bureaucracy is the outcome of a protective reaction of a right 
of property whose legal basis is weak, and is an antidote to the 
awakening of the public conscience.^ 

The political party possesses many of these traits in common 
with the state. Thus the party in which the circle of the elite 
is unduly restricted, or in which, in other words, the oligarchy is 
composed of too small a number of individuals, runs the risk of 

^Scipio Sighele, L'Intelligenza delta Folia, Bocca, Turin, 1903, p. 160. 
^Amilcare Puviani, Teoria della Illusione finansiaria, E. Sandron, Milan- 
Naples-Palermo, 1903, pp. 258 et seq. 


being swept away by the masses in a moment of democratic effer- 
vescence. Hence the modern party, like the modern state, en- 
deavours to give to its own organization the widest possible base, 
and to attach to itself in financial bonds the largest possible num- 
ber of individuals.* Thus arises the need for a strong bureau- 
cracy, and these tendencies are reinforced by the increase in the 
tasks'* imposed by modern organization.^ 

As the party bureaucracy increases, two elements which consti- 
tute the essential pillars of every socialist conception undergo an 
inevitable weakening: an understanding of the wider and more 
ideal cultural aims of socialism, and an understanding of the 
international multiplicity of its manifestations. Mechanism be- 
comes an end in itself. The capacity for an accurate grasp of the 
peculiarities and the conditions of existence of the labour move- 
ment in other countries diminishes in proportion as the individ- 
ual national organizations are fully developed. This is plain 
from a study of the mutual international criticisms of the social- 
ist press. In the days of the so-called ' ' socialism of the emigres, ' ' 
the socialists devoted themselves to an elevated policy of prin- 
ciples, inspired by the classical criteria of internationalism. Al- 
most every one of them was, if the term may be used, a special- 
ist in this more general and comprehensive domain. The whole 
course of their lives, the brisk exchange of ideas on unoccupied 
evenings, the continued rubbing of shoulders between men of the 
most different tongues, the enforced isolation from the bourgeois 
world of their respective countries, and the utter impossibility of 
any "practical" action, all contributed to this result. But in 
proportion as, in their own country, paths of activity were 
opened for the socialists, at first for agitation and soon after- 
wards for positive and constructive work^ the more did a recog- 
nition of the demands of the everyday life of the party divert 

* The governing body of Tammany in New York consists of four hun- 
dred persons. The influence of this political association is concentrated 
in a sub-committee of thirty persons, the so-called Organization Committee 
(Ostrogorsky, La Democratie etc., ed. cit., vol. ii, p. 199). 

* Cf . pp. 33 et seq. 

" Inquiries made by Lask have shown how deeply rooted in the psychology 
of the workers is the desire to enter the class of those who receive pensions. 
A very large number of proletarians, when asked what they wished to do 
with their sons, replied: "To find them employment which would give 
right to a pension." Doubtless this longing is the outcome of the serious 
lack of stability characteristic of the social and economic conditions of 
the workers (Georg v. Schulze-Gaevernitz, Nochmals: "Marx oder 
Kant?," "Archiv fiir Sozialwiss., " xxx, fasc. 2, p. 520). 


their attention from immortal principles. Their vision gained in 
precision but lost in extent. The more cotton-spinners, boot and 
shoe operatives, or brush-makers the labour leader could gain 
each month for his union, the better versed he was in the tedious 
subtleties of insurance against accident and illness, the greater 
the industry he could display in the specialized questions of fac- 
tory inspection and of arbitration in trade disputes, the better 
acquainted he might be with the system of checking the amount 
of individual purchases in co-operative stores and with the meth- 
ods for the control of the consumption of municipal gas, the 
more difficult was it for him to retain a general interest in the 
labour movement, even in the narrowest sense of this term. As 
the outcome of inevitable psychophysiological laws, he could find 
little time and was likely to have little inclination for the study 
of the great problems of the philosophy of history, and all the 
more falsified consequently would become his judgment of inter- 
national questions. At the same time he would incline more and 
more to regard every one as an " incompetent, " an " outsider, ' ' 
an "unprofessional," who might wish to judge questions from 
some higher outlook than the purely technical ; he would incline 
to deny the good sense and even the socialism of all who might 
desire to fight upon another ground and by other means than 
those familiar to him within his narrow sphere as a specialist. 
This tendency towards an exclusive and all-absorbing specializa- 
tion, towards the renunciation of all far-reaching outlooks, is a 
general characteristic of modern evolution. With the continuous 
increase in the acquirements of scientific research, the polyhistor 
is becoming extinct. His place is taken by the writer of mono- 
graphs. The universal zoologist no longer exists, and we have 
instead ornithologists and entomologists ; and indeed the last be- 
come further subdivided into lepidopterists, coleopterists, myrme- 

To some of the "non-commissioned officers" who occupy the 
inferior grades of the party bureaucracy may be aptly applied 
what Alfred Webber said of bureaucracy in general at the con- 
gress of the Verein fur 8ozialpoUtik held at Vienna in 1909.® 

® Cf . ProtoTcoll, pp. 283 et seq. — The Dutch Christian socialist S. J. 
Visser has made a scientific attempt to defend the bureaucracy which would 
be installed by the socialist state, basing this defence upon the dangers 
inherent in private bureaucracy; but his defence must be considered a 
complete failure (S. J. Visser, Over Socialisme, M. Nyhoff's Gravenhage. 
See Chap. II, " Functionnarisme en Demokratie, " pp. 116-165). 


Bureaucracy is the sworn enemy of individual liberty, and of all 
bold initiative in matters of internal policy. The dependence 
upon superior authorities characteristic of the average employee 
suppresses individuality and gives to the society in which em- 
ployees predominate a narrow petty-bourgeois and philistine 
stamp. The bureaucratic spirit corrupts character and engen- 
ders moral poverty. In every bureaucracy we may observe place- 
hunting, a mania for promotion, and obsequiousness towards 
those upon whom promotion depends ; there is arrogance towards 
inferiors and servility towards superiors. Wolfgang Heine, who 
in the German socialist party is one of the boldest defenders of 
the personal and intellectual liberty of the members, who is al- 
ways in the breach to denounce "the tendency to bureaucracy 
and the suppression of individuality," goes so far, in his strug- 
gle against the socialist bureaucracy, as to refer to the awful 
example of the Prussian state. It is true, he says, that Prussia 
is governed in accordance with homogeneous principles and by a 
bureaucracy which must be considered as a model of its kind; 
but it is no less true that the Prussian state, precisely because of 
its bureaucratic characteristics, and notwithstanding its external 
successes, is essentially retrogressive. If Prussia does produce 
any distinguished personalities, it is unable to tolerate their ex- 
istence, so that Prussian politics tend more and more to degener- 
ate into a spiritless and mechanical regime, displaying a lively 
hostility to all true progress.'^ "We may even say that the more 
conspicuously a bureaucracy is distinguished by its zeal, by its 
sense of duty, and by its devotion, the more also will it show 
itself to be petty, narrow, rigid, and illiberal. 

Like every centralizing system, bureaucracy finds its justifica- 
tion in the fact of experience that a certain administrative unity 
is essential to the rapid and efficient conduct of affairs. A great 
many functions, such as the carrying out of important statistical 
inquiries, can never be satisfactorily effected in a federal system. 

The outward form of the dominion exercised by the leaders 
over the rank and file of the socialist party has undergone numer- 
ous changes pari passu with changes in the historical evolution 
of the labour movement. 

In Germany, the authority of the leaders, in conformity with 
the characteristics of the nation and with the insufficient educa- 
tion of the masses, was at first displayed in a monarchical form ; 

'Wolfgang Heine Detnokratische Bandiemerkungen sum Fall Gohre, 
"Soz. Monatsh.," viii (x), fasc. 4. 


there was a dictatorship. The first labour organization on Ger- 
man soil was the Allgemeiner Deutscher Arheiterverein of Ferdi- 
nand Lassalle. This organization was founded in 1873 and lasted 
until 1875, when it became fused with the internationalist and 
Marxist section of German socialism, the ''Eisenachers." The 
personal creation of a man of extraordinary force of character, 
it received even in its smallest details the stamp of his personal- 
ity. It has been contended that Lassalle 's association was 
founded upon the model of the Nationalverein, a German national 
league which was extremely influential at that epoch. This may 
be true in respect of the base of the Arheiterverein, but is cer- 
tainly not true of its summit. The Arheiterverein, like the Na- 
tionalverein, was a unitary society whose members were dispersed 
throughout Germany and did not form any properly organized 
local branches. The membership was not local but national, each 
member being directly dependent upon the central organization. 
But whereas in the Nationalverein the central executive was a 
committee of several members, the Arbeiterverein was autocrati- 
cally ruled by a single individual, Ferdinand Lassalle, who exer- 
cised, as did his successor Johann Baptist von Schweitzer, as 
president of the party of German workers, a power comparable 
with that of the doge of the Venetian Eepublic, and indeed a 
power even more unrestricted, since the president's power was 
not, as was that of the doge, subject to any kind of control 
through oligarchical institutions. The president was an absolute 
monarch, and at his own discretion nominated his subordinate 
officials, his plenipotentiaries, and even his successor. He com- 
manded, and it was for the others to obey. This structure of the 
organization was not the outcome merely of the personal quali- 
ties of Lassalle, of his insatiable greed for power, and of that 
egocentric character^ which made him, despite his genius, so 
poor a judge of men ; it corresponded also to his theoretical view 

^ Already in his student career Lassalle displayed a thoroughly imperious 
and egoistic character. In Berlin he offered a distant relative, a young man 
of slender means, the privilege of sharing a dwelling whose cost was be- 
yond his own purse, but in which he had a great desire to live. Subsequently 
he boasted of having found a "sort of valet" in this unlucky youth. Ho 
threatened the young man (who was as far as his means permitted paying 
his share towards the expenses of the joint establishment) that he would 
evict him without ceremony if he should prove lazy or ill-behaved, or should 
in any way provoke Lassalle 's displeasure. (Cf. a letter from Lassalle to 
his father, dated Berlin, April 24, 1844. Intime Brief e Ferdinand Lassalles 
an Eltern u. Schwester, Buchhandlung "Vorwarts," Berlin, 1905, p. 23.) 


of the aim of all party organization. In his famous speech at 
Ronsdorf he said: "Wherever I have been I have heard from 
the workers expressions of opinion which may be summarized as 
follows: 'We must forge our wills into a single hammer, and 
place this hammer in the hands of a man in whose intelligence, 
character, and goodwill we have the necessary confidence, so 
that he can use this hammer to strike with ! ' . . . The two 
contrasts which our statesmen have hitherto believed incapable 
of being united, freedom and authority, whose union they have 
regarded as the philosopher's stone — these contrasts are most 
intimately united in our Verein, which thus represents in minia- 
ture the coming social order ! " ^ Thus in the eyes of the presi- 
dent his dictatorship was not simply a sad necessity temporarily 
forced upon a fighting organization,^" but dictatorship was the 
ultimate aim of the labour movement.^^ In the days of Lassalle, 
the labour movement in Germany was still weak, and^ like a 
little boy, was still urgently in need of paternal guidance. When 
the father came to die he made testamentary arrangements for 
the provision of a guardian (for the German labour movement 
could still be an object of testamentary depositions). After 
Lassalle 's death, the decisive executive power, the quintessence 
(if the term be permitted) of the structure of the young labour 
movement, continued to rest at the almost absolute disposal of a 
single individual, Schweitzer.^- This authoritative tendency was 
an outcome, not so much of the historical necessity of the mo- 
ment, as of the traditions and of the racial peculiarities of the 
German stock. With the lapse of time this characteristic has 
been notably attenuated by theoretical and practical democracy, 
and by the varying necessities of the case ; above all, by the ap- 
pearance of a typically southern socialism, less rigid than that of 
Prussia and of Saxony, and jealous of its own autonomy. But 
the tendency has not disappeared, nor can it disappear. 

Whilst there was thus forming in Germany the massive organ- 
ization of the followers of Lassalle, the leaders of the Interna- 
tional Association adopted a different form of organization. The 
International Workingmen's Association was characterized by 

• Ferdinand Lassalle, Die Agitation des Allgemeinen Deutschen Arleiter- 
vereins u. das V ersprechen des Konigs von Preussen, ed. cit., p. 40. 

" Cf . pp. 41 et seq. 

" Cf . Gustav Mayer, J. B. von Schweitzer, etc., ed. cit., p. 256. 

"Cf. also Hermann Oncken, Lassalle, Frommann (E. Hauff), Stuttgart, 
1904, p. 397. 


mutual jealousy on the part of the various national sections, and 
this was a potent obstacle in the way of any tendency towards 
dictatorship. Thus there came into existence in London the 
General Council, the supreme authority of the International, 
consisting of a handful of members belonging to the different 
countries represented in the organization. But the powers of 
this executive were in many respects hardly less restricted than 
those of the president of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Arbeiter- 
verein. The General Council forbade the associations which were 
affiliated to it to elect presidents, regarding this as contrary to 
democratic principles.^ ^ Yet as far as concerned itself, it proudly 
asserted, through the mouth of the most conspicuous among its 
members, that the working class had now discovered a ' ' common 
leadership."^* It nominated from among its own members the 
officers necessary for the general conduct of its business, such as 
the treasurer, the general secretary, and the corresponding sec- 
retaries for the different countries,^^ nor did it hesitate, on occa- 
sions, to allot several offices to the same individual. Engels, 
though a German, was for some time secretary for four different 
countries — Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Denmark.^'' It may be 
added that the secretariat carried with it important prerogatives, 
such as the right of recognizing newly constituted sections, the 
right to grant or refuse pecuniary subsidies, and the adjustment 
of disputes among the comrades.^^ It is unquestionable that for 
several years the General Council was subject, in respect of all its 
most significant practical and theoretical manifestations, to the 
iron will of one single man, Karl Marx.^® The conflict in the 

^^ Cf . Compte-Bendu du 4^ Congres International tenu a, Bale en sept. 1869, 
D. Brismee, Brussels, 1869, p. 172. 

^* (Marx), L 'Alliance de la Democratie Socialiste et I' Association Int. 
des Travailleurs, Kapports et Documents, London-Hamburg, 1873, p. 25. 

^^Karl Stegmann and C. Hugo (H. Lindemann), Handhuch des Socialis- 
mus, J. Schabelitz, Zurich, 1897, p. 342. 

"Letter from F. Engels to Sorge, March 17, 1872 (Brief e u. Auszixge 
aus Briefen von Joh. Phil. BecTcer, Jos. Dietsgen, Fried. Engels, Karl 
Marx, u. A. an F. A. Sorge u. A., Dietz Nachf., Stuttgart, 1906, p. 54). 

^''Compte-Bendu du 4^ Congres, p. 172. 

^*"A provisional General Council was elected, and the soul of this body, 
as of all subsequent General Councils down to the Hague congress of 1872, 
was Marx himself. Their history is related elsewhere. In this place it 
suffices to say that Marx edited almost all the documents issued by the 
General Council, from the inaugural address of 1864 down to the address 
dealing with the civil war in France in 1871" (Stegmann u. Hugo, op. 
cit., p. 500). 


General Council between the oligarchy de jure and the mon- 
archy de facto was the inner cause of the rapid decline of the 
Old International. The General Council and especially Marx 
were accused of being the negation of socialism because, it was 
said, in their disastrous greed for power, they had introduced the 
principle of authority into the politics of the workers.^** At 
first these accusations were directed from without, coming from 
the groups that were not represented on the General Council : the 
accusers were Bakunin, the Italians, and the Jurassians. The 
General Council, however, easily got the upper hand. At the 
Hague congress in 1872, the ''authoritarians," making use of 
means characteristic of their own tendencies (the hunting of 
votes, the calling of the congress in a town which was little ac- 
cessible to some of the opponents and quite inaccessible to 
others), ^° obtained a complete victory over the anti-authorita- 
rians. Before long, however, voices were raised within the Coun- 
cil itself to censure the spirit of autocracy. Marx was aban- 
doned by most of his old friends. The French Blanquists osten- 
tatiously separated themselves from him when he had arbitrarily 
transferred the General Council to New York. The two influen- 
tial leaders of the English trade unions who were members of 
the General Council, Odger and Lucraft, quarrelled with Marx 
because they had not been consulted about the manifesto in fa- 
vour of the Paris Commune to which their signatures were at- 
tached. The German refugees in England, Jung and Eccarius, 
declared that it was impossible to work with persons as dicta- 
torial as Marx and Engels. Thus the oligarchs destroyed the 
larval monarchy. 

In 1889 the so-caUed New International was founded. The 
socialist parties of the various countries agreed to undertake 

"James Guillaume, L'InternaUondle, Documents et Souvenirs, Cornely, 
Paris, 1907 vol. ii 

''"Idem, p. 327; cf. also a letter from Marx to Sorge, dated London, June 
21, 1872, in which Marx begs Sorge to send him a number of blank voting 
cards for certain friends in America whom he mentions by name {Brief e 
u. Ausziige aus Brief en, ed. cit., p. 33).— The locale of the congress was a 
convenient one for the English, the French, and the Germans, who were 
on the whole favourable to the General Council, but extremely inconvenient 
for the Swiss, the Spaniards, and the Italians, who were on the side of 
Bakunin. Bakunin himself, who was living in Switzerland, was unable to 
attend the congress, for to reach The Hague he must have crossed Ger- 
many or France, and in both these countries he was liable to immediate 


common deliberations, and to meet from time to time in con- 
gresses for this purpose. Therewith the "idea of international- 
ism" (to quote a phrase employed by Jaeckh) underwent a trans- 
formation. The Old International had worked along the lines of 
the greatest possible centralization of the international prole- 
tariat, "so that it might be possible, at any place at which the 
economic class-struggle became especially active, to throw there 
immediately into the scale the organized power of the working 
class. "^^ The New International, on the other hand, took the 
form of an extremely lax system^, a union of elements which were 
strangers one to another; these elements were national organi- 
zations of a very rigid form, each confined within the limits of 
its own state. In other words, the New International is a con- 
federation of autonomous states, and lacks any unitary and 
homogeneous organization.^^ The Old International was an indi- 
vidual dictatorship, masquerading as an oligarchy. The New 
International may be compared to the old States General of the 
Netherlands; it is a federal republic, consisting of several inde- 
pendent oligarchies. The General Council of London was all- 
powerful. The modern Secretariat Socialiste International, 
whose seat is in Brussels, is nothing but an office for the exchange 
of letters, devoid of all authority. It is true that the interna- 
tional socialist congresses have sometimes furnished an oppor- 
tunity for thoroughly self-conscious and vigorous national oli- 
garchies to attempt usurpations in the international field. Thus, 
in particular, the German social, democracy, when forced upon 
the defensive at the Stuttgart congress of 1907, endeavoured, and 
not without success, to impose upon the other socialist parties its 
own particular tactics, the verbal revolutionarism which had 
originated in the peculiar conditions of .Germany.^^ The inter- 
national unification of tactics has always been limited by the 
varying needs of the different national oligarchies. In other 
words, whilst national supremacies are still possible in the con- 

'^Cf. Gustav Jaeckh, Die Internationale, Leipz. Buehdr. Akt. Ges., Leip- 
zig, 1904, p. 218. 

2== Cf . speech by Wilhelm Liebknecht to the Int. Cong. Paris, 1889 (Proto- 
Tcoll, deutsche Uebersetzung, Worlein, Nuremberg, 1890, p, 7). 

^^Cf. E. Michels, Die deutsche SosialdemoTcratie im Internationalen Ver- 
hande, "Arch, fiir Sozialwiss., " anno 1907). This is a detailed study 
of the conditions of fact and the complex of causes which rendered it 
possible for the German party to exercise such a pressure upon the other 
parties in the International; it deals also with the subsequent decline of its 


temporary socialist International, it is no longer possible for the 
socialist party of one country to exercise a true hegemony over 
the other national parties. The dread of being dominated in- 
creases in each national party in proportion as it becomes firmly 
established, consolidating its own existence and rendering itself 
independent of other socialist parties. International concentra- 
tion is checked by the competition of the various national concen- 
trations. Each national party stands on guard to prevent the 
others from extending their sphere of influence.^* The result is 
that the international efficiency of the resolutions voted at the 
international congresses is almost insignificant. At the inter- 
national socialist congress of Amsterdam, in 1904, the Belgian 
Anseele made it clear that he would not regard himself as bound 
by an international vote forbidding socialists to participate in 
bourgeois governments.-^ Thus, again, Vollmar, with the ap- 
proval of the Germans, speaking at the international socialist 
congress at Stuttgart in 1907, repudiated any interference on 
the part of the French in the military policy of the German 
socialists, protesting in advance against any international reso- 
lution regulating the conduct of the socialists of all countries in 
case of war.-'' Considered from close at hand the international 
German principalities of the eighteenth century, consisting of 
nobles, ecclesiastics, and a few burgomasters, assemblies whose 
chief preoccupation was to avoid yielding to the prince a jot of 
their ' ' freedoms, ' ' that is to say of their peculiar privileges. In 
just the same way, the various national socialist parties, in their 
international congresses, defend with the most jealous care all 
their prerogatives and their national particularism, being all 
determined to yield not an inch of ground in favour of His Maj- 
esty the International.^'^ 

"Eduard Bernstein expressed himself s i milarly as long ago as 1893. 
Cf. Zur Geschichte u. Theorie des Sosialismus, Edelheim, Berlin-Berne, 1901, 
p. 143. 

*Cf. speech by Edouard Anseele, ProtoTcoll des intemat. Soz. Congress, 
1904, "Vorwarts," Berlin, 1904, pp. 47-9. 

*» Cf . speech by Georg von Vollmar, ProtoTcoll des internal. Sos. Congress, , 
1907, "Vorwarts," Berlin, 1907, p. 93. 

=" Hence all coherency of tactics is lacking to international socialism, so 
that alike theoretically and practically every national "section" works 
in accordance with its own will and pleasure. One advocates protection, 
another free trade; one adheres to the KuUurl-ampf, whilst others agitate 
for the repeal of the laws against the Jesuits. (Cf. E. Michels, Le In- 
coerenze internasionali nel Socialismo contemporaneo, "Eiforma Sociale,". 
xiii, fasc. 8.) ' 


The national oligarcliies are willing to recognize tlie authority 
of international resolutions only when by an appeal to the au- 
thority of the International they can quell a troublesome faction 
in their own party. Sometimes the leaders of the minority se- 
cure an international bull to authenticate the purity of their so- 
cialist sentiments as contrasted with the majority, whom they 
accuse of heresy. Sometimes, on the other hand, it is the leaders 
of the majority who endeavour, on the international field, to gain 
a victory over the leaders of the minority, whom they have been 
unable to subdue within the limits of their national organization. 
A typical example of the former ease is furnished by the action 
of the Guesdist minority, at the congress of Amsterdam in 1904, 
which endeavoured to discredit in the opinion of the Interna- 
tional the ideas of their great cousin Jaures in matters of internal 
policy. The manoeuvre proved effective, for the Guesdists suc- 
ceeded in attaching Jaures to their chariot, and in holding him 
prisoner within the serried ranks of the unified French party.^* 
An example of the second mode of action is afforded by the con- 
duct of the Italian and German socialist parties in appealing to 
the decisions of the international congresses (Paris, 1889; Zu- 
rich, 1893 ; London, 1895) in order to get rid of their anti-parlia- 
mentary and anarchist factions. 

Side by side with this international decentralization, we see 
to-day a vigorous national centralization. Certain limitations, 
however, must be imposed on this generalization. 

In the modern labour movement, within the limits of the na- 
tional organizations, we see decentralizing as well as centralizing 
tendencies at work. The idea of decentralization makes continu- 
ous progress, together with a revolt against the supreme author- 
ity of the central executive. But it would be a serious error to 
imagine that such centrifugal movements are the outcome of the 
democratic tendencies of the masses, or that these are ripe for 
independence. Their causation is really of an opposite char- 
acter. The decentralization is the work of a compact minority of 
leaders who, when forced to subordinate themselves in the cen- 
tral jgxecutive of the party as a whole, prefer to withdraw to their 
own local spheres of action (minor state, province, or commune). 
A group of leaders which finds itself in a minority has no love 
for strong national centralization. Being unable to rule the 
whole country, it prefers to rule at home, considering it better 

^'^Cf. the explanations of Bebel at the German congress of Bremen, 1904 
(ProtoTcoll, Berlin, 1904, p. 308). 


to reign in hell than serve in heaven. Vollmar, for example, who 
in his own land possesses so great an influence that he has been 
called the uncrowned king of Bavaria, cannot consent to play 
second fiddle in the German national organization. He would 
rather be first in Munich than second in Berlin ! 

The rallying cry of the majority is centralization, while that 
of the minority is autonomy. Those of the minority, in order 
to gain their ends, are forced to carry on a struggle which often 
assumes the aspect of a genuine fight for liberty, and this is 
reflected in the terminology of the leaders, who declare them- 
selves to be waging war against the new tyranny. "When the 
leaders of the minority feel themselves exceptionally strong, they 
push their audacity to the point of attempting to deny the right 
to existence of the majority, as impersonated in the central ex- 
ecutive. At the Italian socialist congress held at Imola in 1902, 
the leader of the Italian reformists, Filippo Turati, joined with 
his friends in putting forward a formal proposal to suppress the 
central executive. It was necessary, he said, to substitute for 
this obsolete, dictatorial, and decrepit institution the complete 
autonomy of the local organizations, or at least to replace it by 
a purely administrative and executive organism consisting of 
three specialist employees. He added that it was a form of 
jacobinism to wish to govern the whole party from above. The 
opponents of this democratic conception rejoined with an effec- 
tive argument when they pointed out that if the central execu- 
tive were abolished, the parliamentary deputies would remain 
the sole and uncontrolled masters of the party. Consequently, 
whenever it became necessary to take action upon some urgent 
question, when time was lacking to make a direct reference to 
the party as a whole, it would be the parliamentary group, de- 
riving its authority not from the party but from the electorate, 
which would decide upon the line of conduct to be pursued.^^ If 
we accept the hypothesis that a true democracy may exist within 
the party, the tendency to the subdivision of powers is unques- 
tionably anti-democratic, while centralization is, on the other 
hand, the best way of giving incontestable validity to the will of 
the masses. From this point of view, Enrico Ferri was per- 
fectly right when he told the reformists that the proposed abo- 

**Such was the view put forward by Ferri, Longobardi, and others. 
When a vote was taken, the numbers were equal, and the central executive 
was retained {Bendwonto del VII Congresso Nasionale del P. S. I., Imola, 
Settemhre, 1902, Libr. Soe. Ital., Eome, 1903, p. 79). 


lition of the central executive would be equivalent to the sup- 
pression of the sovereignty of the members in general, since the 
executive is the legitimate expression of the mass-will, and de- 
rives its rights from the party congresses.^" 

This decentralizing movement which manifests itself within 
the various national socialist parties does not conflict with the 
essential principle of oligarchy. The minority in opposition, 
which has been thus careful to withdraw itself from the control 
of the central executive, proceeds within its own sphere of do- 
minion to constitute itself into a centralized power no less un- 
restricted than the one against which it has been fighting. Thus 
such movements as we have been considering represent no more 
than an attempt to effect a partition of authority, and to split 
up the great oligarchies into a number of smaller oligarchies. In 
France and in Italy every socialist deputy endeavours to be- 
come as independent as possible of the central executive of his 
party, making himself supreme in his local organization. A sim- 
ilar process may be observed in Germany, where the persistence 
of numerous petty states, mutually independent, and each gov- 
erned by its own parliament, has hitherto prevented the consti- 
tutional and administrative unification of the party throughout 
the country, and has greatly favoured decentralizing tendencies.^^ 
In consequence of this state of affairs we find in Germany that 
all the parties in the separate states, from Bavaria to Hesse, de- 
sire autonomy, independence of the central executive in Berlin. 
But this does not prevent each one of them from exercising a 
centralized authority within its own domain. 

The decentralizing currents in German socialism, and more 
particularly those of the German south, are adverse to centraliza- 
tion only as far as concerns the central executive of Berlin, whilst 
within their own spheres they resist federalism with the utmost 
emphasis.^^ Their opposition to the centralization in Berlin 

^Idem, p. 79. 

^ Certain theorists cover these decentralizing tendencies with the mantle 
of science. Cf. Arthur Schulz, OelconomiscJie und politische EntwicMungs- 
tendensen in Beutschland, Birth, Munich, 1909, p. 95. The sub-title of this 
interesting work is Ein Versuch die Autonomieforderung der suddeutsch- 
en sozialdemoliratischen Landesorganisationen theoretisch su Begriinden. 
Thus the work is in effect an attempt to provide a theoretical foundation 
for the claims to autonomy advanced by the socialist organizations in 
the various states of southern Germany. 

^^ This was pointed out by Adolf Braun at the Bavarian socialist congress 
held at Schweinfurt in 1906. 


takes the form of a desire in the local parties to retain financial 
independence of the central treasury. At the Schweinfurt con- 
gress in 1906, Ehrhart, socialist deputy to the Bavarian diet, 
said : "It comes to this^ the central executive has the manage- 
ment of the money which goes to Berlin, but it is for us to decide 
how we shall spend the money which is kept here. ' ' ^^ Hugo 
Lindemann of Wiirtemherg, one of the most ardent adversaries 
of the Prussianization of the party and an advocate of federal- 
ism, has declared that it is undesirable to deplete the local 
finances of the South German states in favour of the central 
treasury in Berlin, where the executive is always inclined to a 
policy of hoarding money for its own sake.^* 

The struggles within the modern democratic parties over this 
problem of centralization versus decentralization are of great 
scientific importance from several points of view. It would be 
wrong to deny that the advocates of both tendencies bring for- 
ward a notable array of theoretical considerations, and occasion- 
ally make valid appeals to moral conceptions. "We have, how- 
ever, to disabuse our minds of the idea that the struggle is really 
one for or against oligarchy, for or against popular sovereignty 
or the sovereignty of the party masses. The tendency to decen- 
tralization of the party rule, the opposition to international cen- 
tralization (to the far-reaching authority of international bu- 
reaux, committees, congresses), or to national centralization (to 
the authority of the party executives), has nothing to do with 
the desire for more individual liberty. 

The democratic tendency may be justified by practical rea- 
sons, and in particular by differences in the economic or social 
situation of the working classes in the various districts, or by 
other local peculiarities. The tendencies to local, provincial, or 
regional autonomy are in fact the outcome of effective and in- 
eradicable differences of environment. In Germany, the social- 
ists of the south feel themselves to be divided as by an ocean 
from their comrades of the north. They claim the right of self- 
government and participation in government because they live 
in countries where parliamentarism already possesses a glorious 
history dating from more than a century back, whereas Prussia 
is still thoroughly imbued with the authoritarian and feudal 
spirit. They claim it also because in the south agriculture is 

»"Volksstimme" of Frankfort, March 6, 1906. 

** Hugo Lindemann, Centralismus u. Foderalismus in der SosialdemoTcratie, 
**Soz. Monatsh.," viii (x), No. 4. 


carried on mainly under a system of petty proprietorship^, where- 
as in the central and eastern provinces of Germany large landed 
estates predominate. The result is that class differences, with 
their consequent differences of mental outlook, are less conspic- 
uous in the south than in the north, so that the opposition to 
the socialists is of a different character in the two regions. In 
the struggles between the northern and the southern leaders 
within the socialist party, struggles which are often lively and 
at times extremely violent, each section levels the same accusa- 
tion against the other, declaring it to belong to a country in 
which civilization is comparatively backward and where theoret- 
ical conceptions are obsolete. The socialists of the north con- 
tend that those of the south are still living in a petty bourgeois, 
pacific, countrified environment, whereas they themselves, in the 
land of large-scale manufacture, represent the future. The men 
of the south proudly reply that it is they who live in conditions 
to which their comrades of the north have yet to attain, by abol- 
ishing the large landed estates and by suppressing the class of 

Similar environmental differences divide the Italian socialists. 
Here also the socialists of the south demand complete autonomy, 
contending that the theoretical basis of socialism in the south is 
different from that in the north. They say that in the former 
kingdom of Naples the actual conditions of production and dis- 
tribution are not such as to establish a sharp distinction between 
the two classes which according to classical socialism exist every- 
where in strife. Consequently the introduction into this region 
of the Marxist revolutionary propaganda would marshal against 
socialism, not the great and medium landowners alone^ but also 
the petty proprietors.^® Whilst the socialists of the plain of the 
Po fiercely oppose a duty upon grain because this would increase 
the cost of living for the labouring masses agglomerated in great 
cities, the socialists of the south have on several occasions de- 
clared in favour of the existing protectionist system, because its 
suppression would bring about a crisis in production in a region 
where proletarians and employers all alike live by agriculture.^'^ 

^Arthur Schulz, OeTconomische u. Politische Entwicklungstendensen, ed. 
cit, pp. 11, 25, 67. 

^Francesco Ciecotti, Socialismo e Cooperativismo agricolo nelV Italia 
Meridionale, Nerbini, Florence, 1900, p. 8. 

=' Cf. a speech by Gaetano Salvemini at the socialist congress of Florence, 
September 21, 1908 {Besoconto, p. 122). 


Again, in the north, where manufacturing industry is dominant, 
the socialists disapproved of the Tripolitan campaign, whereas 
in the south, where they are for the most part agriculturists, an 
enthusiastic sentiment in favour of territorial expansion pre- 
vailed. In addition to these reasons, which may be termed in- 
trinsic because they derive from the objective differences between 
the north and the south, we find that an opposition between the 
socialists of the two areas arises from the attitude of the govern- 
ment in the respective regions. The Italian Government is dou- 
ble-faced, being liberal in the north, but often very much the 
reverse in the south, for here it is largely in the hands of local 
coteries which, in a region where the voters are scattered, become 
the sole arbiters in times of election. In the year 1902, when 
Giolitti was in power, this duplex attitude of the government 
gave rise to a serious difference within the socialist party, for 
the socialists of the north did not disguise their ardent desire to 
participate in government, whilst those of the south (although 
their tendencies were rather reformist than revolutionary) at- 
tacked the government fiercely.^^ 

^ Thus, as has been shown at length, the various tendencies to- 7" 

wards decentralization which manifest themselves in almost all 
the national parties, whilst they suffice to prevent the formation 
of a single gigantic oligarchy, result merely in the creation of a 
number of smaller oligarchies, each of which is no less powerful 
within its own sphere. The dominance of oligarchy in party life 
remains unchallenged. 

^Cf. Alessandro Tasca di Cuto, Dell' Opera antisociale del Ministero nel 
Mezzogiorno, and Sincerita, "Avanti," December 4 and 11, 1902. 






The apathy of the masses and their need for guidance has as its 
counterpart in the leaders a natural greed for power. Thus the 
development of the democratic oligarchy is accelerated by the 
general characteristics of human nature. What was initiated by 
the need for organization, administration, and strategy is com- 
pleted by psychological determinism. 

The average leader of the working-class parties is morally not 
lower, but on the whole higher, in quality than the average leader 
of the other parties.^ This has sometimes been unreservedly ad- 
mitted by the declared adversaries of socialism.^ Yet it cannot 
be denied that the permanent exercise of leadership exerts upon 
the moral character of the leaders an influence which is essen- 
tially pernicious. Yet this also, from a certain point of view, is 
perhaps good. The bitter words which La Bruyere applied to the 
great men of the court of Louis XIV, that the imitative mania 
and veneration exhibited towards them by the masses would have 
grown into an absolute idolatry, if it had occurred to any of 
them to be simply good men as well as great ones — ^these words, 
mutatis mutandis, could be applied with equal truth to the lead- 
ers of the vast democratic movements of our own days.^ 

In the majority of instances^ and above all at the opening of 
his career, the leader is sincerely convinced of the excellence of 
the principles he advocates. Le Bon writes with good reason: 
"Le meneur a d'abord ete le plus souvent un mene. II a lui- 

^ For documentary proof of this assertion as far as the Italian labour 
movement is concerned cf. E. Michels, II Proletariato e la Borghesia nel 
Movimento socialista Italiano, Bocca, Turin, 1908, pp. 28-58, 68-76, 106-14, 
265-391; also E. Michels, Ber etMsclie FaUor in der ParteipolitiTc Italiens, 
"Zeitschrift fiir Politik," vol. iii, fasc. 1, pp. 56-91. 

*Vilfredo Pareto, Les Systemes socialistes, ed. cit., vol. i, p. 61; W. Som- 
bart, Dennocli! zur Theorie u. Geschichte der gewerTcschaftlichen Arieiter- 
bewegung, Fischer, Jena, 1900, p. 107. 

'La Bruyere, Caracteres, Penaud, Paris, p. 156. 



meme ete hypnotise par I'idee dont il est ensuite devenu 
I'apotre."* In many cases tlie leader, at first no more than a 
single molecule of the mass, has become detached from this in- 
voluntarily, without asking whither his instinctive action was 
leading him, without any personal motive whatever. He has 
been pushed forward by a clearer vision, by a profounder senti- 
ment, and by a more ardent desire for the general good ; he has 
been inspired by the elasticity and seriousness of his character 
and by his warm sympathy for his fellows.^ It is obvious that 
this will be true above all where the leader does not find already 
established a solid organization capable of offering remunerative 
employment, but where his first step must be to found his own 
party. But this must not be taken to mean that wherever a 
well-organized party already exists the leader seeks at the out- 
set to gratify his personal interests. 

It is by no means always by deliberate desire that people be- 
come officers of the masses. Using familiar French terms, we 
may express this more clearly by saying that not every arrive 
was at first an arriviste. But he who has once attained to power 
will not readily be induced to return to the comparatively ob- 
scure position which he formerly occupied.® The abandonment 
of a public position obtained at the cost of great efforts and 
after many years of struggle is a luxury which only a "grand 
seigneur " or a man exceptionally endowed with the spirit of self- 
sacrifice can afford. Such self-denial is too hard for the average 

The consciousness of power always produces vanity, an undue 
belief in personal greatness. The desire to dominate, for good 
or for evil, is universal.^ These are elementary psychological 
facts. In the leader, the consciousness of his personal worth,* 

* Gustave le Bon, Psychologie des Foules, ed. cit., p. 106. Cf . also S. G. 
Hobson, Boodle and Cant, "International Socialist Eeview," Chicago, 1902, 
ii, No. 8, p. 585. 

^Ettore Ciccotti, Montec'itorio, ed. cit., p. 54. 

*Pio Viazzi, one of the most trusted deputies in the Italian Chamber, a 
member of the republican party, has declared that any one who has once 
been elected to parliament will henceforward do all he can to secure re- 
election (Pio Viazzi, Le Gioie della Deputasione, "Eivista Populare," anno 
XV, No. 9). 

^ " L 'amour de la puissance ainsi que 1 'amour de 1 'independanee et de 
la liberte, sont des passions inherentes a I'homme" (Holbaeh, Syst ernes 
sociales, ou Frincipes naturelles de la Morale et de la Politique, Niogret, 
Paris, 1822, vol. i, p. 196). 

*" Beyond question individuality is indispensable wherever it is requi- 


and of the need which the mass feels for guidance, combine to 
induce in his mind a recognition of his own superiority (real or 
supposed), and awake, in addition, that spirit of command which 
exists in the germ in every man born of woman,"*^ We see from 
this that every human power seeks to enlarge its prerogatives. 
He who has acquired power will almost always endeavour to 
consolidate it and to extend it, to multiply the ramparts which 
defend his position, and to withdraw himself from the control of 
the masses. Bakunin, the founder of anarchizing socialism, con- 
tended that the possession of power transformed into a tyrant 
even the most devoted friend of liberty.^**- It is certain that the 
exercise of power produces a profound and ineffaceable change in 
the character. This is admirably described by Alphonse Daudet 
when he writes: ''Bien vite, s'il s'agit de I'affreuse politique, 
nos qualites tcurnent au pire : I'enthousiasme devient hypocrisie ; 
I'eloquence, faconde et boniment; le scepticisme leger, escro- 
querie; I'amour de ee qui brille, fureur du lucre et du luxe a 
tout prix; la sociabilite, le besoin de plaire, se font lachete, fai- 
blesse, et palinodie. " ^^ To retain their influence over the masses 

site to incite deliberately to conscious acts of volition. Man derives pleas- 
ure from the expression of his individuality in the activities which, thanks 
to it, are brought to pass. We should none of us be willing to exchange 
our own individualities for those of others, just as we should be unwilling 
to change our physiognomy. This inclination results in part from habit, 
but in part from self-love. The individual is used to his own defects and 
would not like to be deprived of his merits" (Eduard von Hartmann, 
GedanJcen uber Individualismus, " Tiirmer- Jahrbuch, " Stuttgart, 1903, p. 

'Cf. the psychological reflections of Ugo Foscolo on the evolution of 
Napoleon I, Ultime Lettere di Giacopo Ortio, Perino, Rome, 1892, p. 143, 

" Bakunin, II Soeialismo e Massini, F. Serantoni, Eome-Florence, 1905, 
p. 22. — Similarly Herzen writes: "Donnez a Proudhon le portefeuille des 
finances, ou faites-le president, et il sera une espece de Bonaparte" (Alex- 
andre Herzen, De V autre Bive, Geneva, 1871, 3rd ed., p. 186). — Shelley's 
lines on this subject are singularly apposite: — 

"... The man 
Of virtuous soul commands not, nor obeys. 
Power, like a desolating pestilence, 
Pollutes whate'er it touches; and obedience, 
Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth. 
Makes slaves of men, and, of the human frame, 
A mechanized automaton." 

— Queen Mob, § iii, 11. 174-80. 

"Leon Daudet, Alplwnse Daudet, ed. cit., p. 179. 


the leaders study men, note their weaknesses and their passions, 
and endeavour to turn these to their own advantage.^^ 

When the leaders are not persons of means and when they 
have no other source of income, they hold firmly to their posi- 
tions for economic reasons, coming to regard the functions they 
exercise as theirs by inalienable right. Especially is this true of 
manual workers who, since becoming leaders, have lost aptitude 
for their former occupation. For them, the loss of their posi- 
tions would be a financial disaster, and in most cases it would be 
altogether impossible for them to return to their old way of life.^* 
They have been spoiled for any other work than that of propa- 
ganda.^* Their hands have lost the callosities of the manual 
toiler, and are likely to suffer only from writer's cramp. 

Those leaders, again, who are refugees from the bourgeoisie 
are used up after having devoted a few years to the service of 
the socialist party. It was as youthful enthusiasts that they 
joined the organized workers and soon attained to dominant po- 
sitions. The life they then had to lead, however great may have 
been its advantages in certain respects, was one full of fatigue 
and hardship, and, like all careers in which fame can be ac- 
quired, was extremely exhausting to the nervous system. Such 
men grow old before their time. What are they to do? They 
have become estranged from their original profession, which is 
altogether out of relation with their chosen vocation of profes- 
sional politician. A barrister, indeed, can continue to practise 
his profession, and may even devote almost all his time to it, 
without being forced to abandon the party. The political strug- 
gle and the life of the lawyer have more than one point of con- 
tact, for is not the political struggle a continuous act of ad- 
vocacy? The barrister who plays a leading part in public life 
will find many opportunities for the gratification of his love of 
oratory and argument, and will have no lack of chances for the 
display of the power of his lungs and the expressiveness of his 

^^ Ostrogorsky, La Bemocratie, etc., ed. cit., ii, p. 344. 

" Cf . Part IV, chap. v. 

" This is not merely true of ' ' those lazy fellows who are good for noth- 
ing more than the parrot-like repetition of a few phrases culled from the 
party literature, and of those whose only equipment is to have a voice 
like that of a bull," from whose influence Sombart would like to see 
the workers freed, and for whose eradication he recommends, in especial, 
attention to the practical work of the trade unions (Werner Sombart, Ben- 
noch.', ed. cit., p. 91) — ^but it applies with equal force to the trade-union 
officials destined to replace the type to which he objects. 


gestures. It is very different with men of science. These, if 
they play an active part in the life of the party, he it as journal- 
ists, as propagandists, or as parliamentary deputies, find that 
their scientific faculties undergo a slow but progressive atrophy. 
Having become absorbed in the daily political round, they are 
dead for their discipline, for they no longer have time for the 
serious study of scientific problems and for the continuous de- 
velopment of their intellectual faculties. 

There are, however, additional reasons for the mental trans- 
formation which the leaders undergo as the years pass. 

As far as concerns the leaders of bourgeois origin in the 
working-class parties, it may be said that they have adhered to 
the cause of the proletariat either on moral grounds^, or from en- 
thusiasm, or from scientific eonviction.^^ They crossed the Rubi- 
con when they were still young students, still full of optimism 
and juvenile ardour. Having gone over to the other side of the 
barricade to lead the enemies of the class from which they 
sprang, they have fought and worked, now suffering defeats and 
now gaining victories. Youth has fled; their best years have 
been passed in the service of the party or of the ideal. They 
are ageing, and with the passing of youth, their ideals have also 
passed, dispersed by the contrarieties of daily struggles, often, 
too, expelled by newly acquired experiences which conflict with' 
the old beliefs. Thus it has come to pass that many of the lead- 
ers are inwardly estranged from the essential content of social- 
ism. Some of them carry on a difficult internal struggle against 
their own scepticism; others have returned, consciously or un- 
consciously, to the ideals of their pre-socialist youth. 

Yet for those who have been thus disillusioned, no backward 
path is open. They are enchained by their own past. They 
have a family, and this family must be fed. Moreover, regard 
for their political good name makes them feel it essential to 
persevere in the old round. They thus remain outwardly faith- 
ful to the cause to which they have sacrificed the best years of 
their life. But, renouncing idealism, they have become oppor- 
tunists. These former believers, these sometime altruists, whose 
fervent hearts aspired only to give themselves freely, have been 
transformed into sceptics and egoists whose actions are guided 
solely by cold calculation. 

As we have previously seen, these new elements do not join the 

^ Cf. Part IV, chap, ii. 


party witli the declared or even tlie subconscious aim of attain- 
ing one day to leadership ; their only motives have been the 
spirit of sacrifice and the love of battle. Visionaries, they see a 
brother in every comrade and a step towards the ideal in every 
party meeting.^® Since, however, in virtue of their superiority 
(in part congenital and in part acquired), they have become 
leaders, they are in the course of years enslaved by all the appe- 
tites which arise from the possession of power, and in the end 
are not to be distinguished from those among their colleagues 
who became socialists from ambition, from those who have from 
the first deliberately regarded the masses as no more than an 
instrument which they might utilize towards the attainment of 
their own personal ambitions. 

It cannot be denied that the factor of individuality plays its 
part in all this, for different individualities react differently to 
the same environment. Just as women and girls in similar erotic 
situations act differently in accordance with their varying de- 
grees of congenital sexual irritability and with the differences 
that have been induced in them by moral education, remaining 
immaculate, becoming demi-vierges, or yielding to advances, so 
also the specific qualities of the leaders, in so far as these are 
acquired and not immanent, manifest themselves differently in 
different individuals in face of the numerous temptations to 
which they are exposed in party life.^'^ The sense of satiety 
which arises in those who have attained their end varies greatly 
in intensity from person to person. There are similar variations 
in adaptability to a new and anti-democratic environment, or to 

** This may be seen in the accounts whicli many socialists have given of 
their first adhesion to the party. For instance: "And from these as- 
semblies come forth the new converts from the bourgeoisie, freed from 
their last doubts, having attained to a new state of mind, to a peace hitherto 
unknown; the younger men full of thoughts unfamiliar to their heedless 
youth; the older ones rejuvenated in heart and spirit; all filled with a 
profound sense of complacency, as if in the meeting they have attended 
there had not been talk merely, but action, labour for the good of the 
world, dispersing for the future the blessed seed of truth, benevolence, 
and justice" (Edmondo de Amicis, Le Discordie socialiste, "Avanti," 
anno viii. No. 2665, 1907). As regards Holland, F. Domela Nieuwenhuis 
writes in similar terms in Van Christen Tot Anarchist, ed. cit., p. 100. Aa 
Turati well expresses it, this is * ' the golden age, the age of apostolic, pure, 
and immaculate spirits" (Filippo Turati, II Partito socialist a italiano, ed. 
cit., p. 10). 

" This is admitted by Arturo Labriola, Biforme e Bivolusione sociale, ed. 
cit., p. 225. 


an environment hostile to the ideas which the individual has at 
heart. Some socialists, for instance, are so greatly intimidated 
by the parliamentary milieu that they are ashamed in that 
milieu to make use of the expressions ' ' class struggle ' ' and ' ' col- 
lectivism, " ^^ although it is to the unwearying insistence upon 
these ideas that they owe their present position. Others among 
their comrades find amid all the circumstances of their new life 
that right feeling and that old courage of conviction which can- 
not be prescribed by any formal rules. It is absurd to maintain, 
as does Giuseppe Prezzolini, that in the parliamentary atmos- 
phere it is as impossible for a deputy to preserve his socialist 
purity as it would be for a Joseph to remain chaste while fre- 
quently visiting brothels.^'' Such a view is false, if only for the 
reason that here, as in all social phenomena, we have to consider 
the personal as well as the environmental factor. It is neverthe- 
less true that in the course of party evolution, as the led becomes 
a subordinate leader, and from that a leader of the first rank, he 
himself undergoes a mental evolution, which often effects a com- 
plete transformation in his personality.^" When this happens, 
the leader often sees in his own transformation nothing more 
than a reflex of a transformation in the surrounding world. The 
times have changed, he tells us^ and consequently a new tactic 
and a new theory are necessary. A greater maturity of judg- 
ment corresponds to the greater maturity of the new age. The 
reformist and revisionist theory in the international socialist 
party is largely the outcome of the psychological need to furnish 
an explanation and an excuse for the metamorphosis which has 
taken place in the leaders. A few years ago, one of the leaders 
of the Italian clericals, after declaring that triumphant reform- 

^ Cf . Ettore Ciceotti, Fsicologia del Movimento socialisia, ed. cit., p. 292. 

^' G. Prezzolini, La Teoria sindacalista, PerreEa, Naples, 1909, p. 65. 

*°At the German socialist congress of Frankfort (1894) it was above 
all the present leaders of the great German trade unions, such as Bomel- 
burg, Legien, and Timm, who contended that the salaries of the employees 
of the labour movement should be restricted to a very moderate figure {Pro- 
tokoll, p. 69). In the seventies, Eugene Fourniere actively opposed Louis 
Blanc, the former maintaining the socialist principle that the socialist 
deputies ought to pay over to the party treasury the whole of the 9,000 
francs which was at that time the deputy's salary (Jean AUemane, Le 
Socialisme en France, Imp. Ouviere, rue St. Sauveur, Paris, 1900, p. 7). 
Thirty years later, this same Fourniere, now himself a deputy, when a 
party congress decided that a portion of the salary of the socialist depu- 
ties (meanwhile increased to 15,000 francs) must be paid over to the 
party treasury, declared that he could not spare any of it. 


ism, having an evolutionary and legalist character, was in these 
respects preferable to strict syndicalism, went on to say that in 
his view the basis of reformist socialism was still the materialist 
conception of man, of life, and of history, but further corrupted 
by contact with the utilitarian and Epicurean spirit of the free- 
thinking bourgeoisie, and that it was consequently even more 
profoundly anti-Christian than the ideas of the ultra-revolution- 
ists.^^ There is a kernel of truth in this idea. However much 
we are forced to recognize that reformism sometimes manifests 
itself as a sane rebellion against the apriorism of orthodox Marx- 
ist dogma, and as a scientific reaction against the phraseology of 
pseudo-revolutionary stump-orators, it is nevertheless incontest- 
able that reformism has a logical and causal connection with the 
insipid and blase sciolism and with the decadent tendencies which 
are so plainly manifest in a large section of the modern bour- 
geois literary world. In many instances, in fact, reformism is 
no more than the theoretical expression of the scepticism of the 
disillusioned, of the outwearied, of those who have lost their 
faith ; it is the socialism of non-socialists with a socialist past. 

It is above all the sudden passage from opposition to partici- 
pation in power which exercises a powerful influence on the men- 
tality of the leaders. It is evident that in a period of proscrip- 
tions and persecutions of the new doctrine and its advocates on 
the part of society and of the state, the morality of the. party- 
leaders will maintain itself at a much higher level than in a 
period of triumph and of peace, if only for the reason that in 
the former conditions those of egotistic temperament and those 
inspired by narrow personal ambition will hold aloof from the 
P'arty since they have no desire for the martyr 's crown.^ These 
considerations apply, not merely to the old leaders who have been 
members of the party during its days of tribulation, and whose 
qualities, if not completely corrupted by the sun of governmental 

^^Filippo Meda, II Partito socialista in Italia dell' Internationale at 
Mformismo, Lib. ed. Florentina, Florence, 1909, p. 46. 

^^In troublous times the socialists are glad to avail themselves of refer- 
ences to the high ethical qualities of their leaders as a means of agitation. 
A pamphlet issued in 1894 by the Ehenish socialist Wilhelm Gewehr, Warum 
der Kampf gegen die SozialdemoTcratie? (Grimpe, Elberfeld, p. 32), closes 
with the words: "Let him who has honourable and loyal intentions 
towards the poor place himself on the side of the socialists, who are fighting 
and sacrificing themselves on behalf of the ideal ! " In times of struggle 
such utterances have no ludicrous flavour. — Regarding Italian conditions, 
cf. E. Michels, Ber ethische Faktor, etc., ed. cit., pp. 68 et seq. 


favour (so as to lead them to abandon the cause of the prole- 
tariat) , are yet so greatly changed as to render them almost un- 
recognizable by the masses; but it is equally true of the new 
leaders who do not put in an appearance until the sun has begun 
to shine upon the party. 

As long as the struggle on behalf of the oppressed brings 
to those engaged in it nothing more than a crown of thorns, 
those members of the bourgeoisie who adhere to socialism must 
fulfil functions in the party exacting great personal disinter- 
estedness. Bourgeois adherents do not become a danger to 
socialism until the labour movement, abandoning its principles, 
enters the slippery paths of a policy of compromise. 

At the international congress of Amsterdam, Bebel exclaimed 
with perfect truth, in answer to Jaures: "When a socialist 
party forms an alliance with a section of the bourgeoisie, and 
institutes a policy of co-operation with the government, not only 
does it repel its own best militants, driving them into the ranks 
of the anarchists, or into isolated action, but it also attracts to 
itself a swarm of bourgeois of very dubious value. " ^^ In Italy, 
during the period of persecutions, all scientific investigators 
bore striking witness to the high moral qualities of the socialist 
leaders. No sooner, however, had the socialist party (towards 
1900) begun to display friendship for the government than 
voices were heard on all hands deploring a deterioration in the 
composition of the party, and denouncing the numerous elements 
entering the party simply because they regarded it as the best 
means by which they could secure a share in the loaves and 
fishes of public administration.^* 

"Wherever the socialists have gained control of the munici- 

=^From the report in "Het Volk," v. No. 1341. In the German Pro- 
toJcoll (which, be it remarked in passing, is extremely inadequate) this 
passage is not reported. Bebel 's observation is in flat contradiction with 
what he has frequently said in the Eeichstag, that in his view the carrying 
of socialism into effect after the victory would be greatly facilitated by 
the inevitable adhesion to the various branches of the new administration, 
of numerous competent elements from the official bureaucracy. (Cf. 
August Bebel, Zulunftstaat und Sosialdemokratie, p. 13; speech in Eeichs- 
tag, February 3, 1893.) 

**Cf. E. Michels, II Proletariato e la Borghesia, etc., ed. cit., p. 348; 
Eomeo Soldi, Die politisclie Lage in Italien, * ' Neue Zeit, ' ' xxi. No. 30, p. 
116; Giovanni Lerda, SulV Organizzazione politica del Partito socialista 
italiano, a report to the Italian socialist congress of 1902, Coop. Tip.-Ed., 
Imola, 1902, p. 10; Filippo Turati, II Partito socialista e I'attuale Momenta 
politico, "Critica Sociale," Milan, 3rd ed., 1901. 


palities, wherever they run people's banks and distributive co- 
operative societies, wherever they have remunerative posts at 
their disposal, we cannot fail to observe a notable decline in 
their moral level, and to see that the ignorant and the self- 
seeking now constitute the majority among them. 



Napoleon I, as head of the state, desired to be regarded as the 
chosen of the people. In his public activities, the emperor 
boasted that he owed his power to the French people alone. 
After the battle of the Pyramids, when his glory began to at- 
tain its acme, the general imperiously demanded that there should 
be conferred on him the title of premier representant du peuple, 
although hitherto the style of ' ' popular representative ' ' had been 
exclusively reserved for members of the legislative bodies.^ 
Later, when by a plebiscite he had been raised to the throne of 
France, he declared that he considered his power to repose ex- 
clusively upon the masses.^ The Bonapartist interpretation of 
popular sovereignty was a personal dictatorship conferred by 
the people in accordance with constitutional rules.^ 

The CEesarism of Napoleon III was founded in still greater 
measure upon the principle of popular sovereignty. In his letter 
to the National Assembly written from London on May 24, 1848, 
the pretender to the crown recognized the French Republic which 
was the issue of the February revolution and was founded upon 
universal suffrage. At the same time he claimed for himself, and 
at the expense of the exiled king Louis Philippe, a hereditary 
right to insurrection and to the throne. This recognition and 
this claim were derived by him from the same principle. With 
simultaneous pride and humility he wrote : ' ' En presence d 'un 

^ Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, Idees napoleoniennes, 1839, Italian ed., 
Pelazza, Turin, 1852, p. 74. 

2 IMd., p. 119. 

'At times, indeed, a casuistical significance was given to the term "popu- 
lar sovereignty" which deprived it of all practical meaning. Thus in St. 
Helena Napoleon said: "Le premier devoir du prince est de faire ce que 
veut le peuple; niais ee que veut le peuple n'est presque jamais ee qu'il dit; 
sa volonte, ses besoins doivent se trouver moins dans sa bouche que dans 
le cceur du prince" (Emmanuel Augustin Dieudonne Las Cases, Memorial 
de Ste-HSUne, Paris, 1821, vol. ii, p. 82). This note is often sounded in 
the public utterances of modern party leaders (cf. pp. 152, 153). 


roi elu par deux cents deputes, je pouvais me rappeler etre 
I'heritier d'un empire fonde sur I'assentiment de quatre millions 
de francais; en presence de la souverainete nationale (resultante 
du suffrage universel), je ne peux et ne veux revendiquer que 
mes droits de citoyen frangais."* But Napoleon III did not 
merely recognize in popular sovereignty the source of his power, 
he further made that sovereignty the theoretical basis of all his 
practical activities. He made himself popular in France by de- 
claring that he regarded himself as merely the executive organ 
of the collective will manifested in the elections, and that Jie 
was entirely at the disposition of that will, prepared in all 
things to accept its decisions.^ With great shrewdness, he con- 
tinually repeated that he was no more than an instrument, a 
creature of the masses. While still president he declared in a 
speech that he was prepared as circumstances might dictate 
either for abnegation or for perseverance, or, in other words, that 
he was ready to go or to remain.^ It was the pure Bonapartist 
spirit which was expressed by Ollivier, the keeper of the seals, 
when in the Chamber, in one of the stormy sittings of the sum- 
mer of 1870, he declared : ' ' Nous vous appartenons ; vous nous 
reprendrez quand vous voudrez, nous serons tou jours la pour 
subir vos reproches et vos anathemes. ' ' "^ 

Bonapartism recognized the validity of the popular will to 
such an extreme degree as to concede to that will the right of 
self-destruction : popular sovereignty could suppress itself. Yet 
if we look at the matter from a purely human point of view, 
popular sovereignty is inalienable. Moreover, if we think of 
succeeding generations, it seems illogical and unjust that those 
of this generation should claim the moral right of renouncing on 
behalf of their descendants. Consequently the democrats of the 
Napoleonic epoch insisted most energetically that the power of 
popular sovereignty was limited to this extent, that it did not 
carry with it any right of abdication.^ Bonapartism is the theory 
of individual dominion originating in the collective will, but 

* Eugene Tenot, Paris en Decembre 1851. Etudes Jiistoriques sur le Coup 
d'Etat, Le Chevalier, Paris, 1868, p. 10. 

"Victor Hugo, Napoleon le Petit, Jeffs, London, 1852, p. 54. 

® E. Tenot, Paris en Decembre 1851, ed. eit., p. 26. 

^Gamier Pages, L' Opposition et I' Empire. Derniere Seance du Corps 
Legislatif, 1870. Bibl. Democratique, Paris, 1872, p. 157. 

*G. B. A. Godin, La Souverainete et les Droits du Peuple, Bibl. Dem., 
Paris, 1874, pp. 115 et seq. 


tending to emancipate itself of that will and to become sovereign 
in its turn. In its democratic past it finds a shield against the 
dangers which may threaten its anti-democratic present.® In 
Bonapartism, the rule of Cassar (as was said by a wit of the last 
years of the second empire) becomes a regular organ of the pop- 
ular sovereignty. "II sera la democratie personnifiee, la nation 
faite homme."^° It is the synthesis of two antagonistic con- 
cepts, democracy and autocracy.^^ 

*Emile Littre, in his Dictionnaire de la Langue frangaise (Hachette, 
Paris, 1863), under the word Cesarisme, speaks of "princes portes au gou- 
vernement par la democratie, mais revetus d'lm pouvoir absolu" (vol. i, 
p. 534). 

^^ Cf . Edouard Laboulaye, Paris en Amerique, Charpentier, Paris, 1869, 
24th ed., p. 381. — The Bonapartist conception of popular sovereignty is 
not democratic, while, on the other hand, it in no way corresponds with the 
political conception of legitimate monarchy, Jurieu, a Protestant pastor, 
endeavoured in the seventeenth century to find a theoretic foundation for 
absolute monarchy in popular sovereignty, but without success. Bossuet, 
the greatest writer on the idea of the state in the days of Louis XIV, 
paraphrased the ideas of Jurieu in the following ironical sentences: "Le 
peuple fait les souverains et donne la souverainete : done le peuple possede 
la souverainete et la possede dans un degre plus eminent; car celui qui com- 
munique doit posseder ee qu'il communique, d'une maniere plus parfaite, 
et quoiqu'un peuple qui a fait un souverain ne puisse plus exercer la sou- 
verainete par lui-meme, e'est pourtant la souverainete du peuple qui est 
exereee par le souverain; et I'exercice de la souverainete, qui se fait par 
un seul, n'empeche pas que la souverainete ne soit dans le peuple comme 
dans sa source, et comme dans son premier sujet" (Bossuet, Cinquieme 
Avertissement aux Protestants sur les Lettres de M. Jurieu contre I'Histoire 
des Variations, CEuvres, Paris, 1743, vol. iv, p. 280). — Only in quite recent 
times, in which, as we have seen, certain opportunists have endeavoured to 
justify monarchy from a democratic standpoint, has the attempt of Julieu 
been revived, although in a somewhat different form. In Germany, Fried- 
rich Naumann issued the watchword "Democracy and Emperordom" 
(DemoTcratie und Kaisertum). In Italy, Ettore Sacchi, the leader of 
the bourgeois-radical party, has based his acceptance of the monarchy upon 
the opinion that (in Italy) it is a democratic institution, in the first place 
because it has been expressly sanctioned by the people, and in the second 
place because the monarchy is now tacitly accepted by all (Giuseppe Eensi, 
Gli, " Ancien Eegime" e la Deniocrasia diretta, Colombi, Belinzona, 1902, 
p. 7). It may, however, be pointed out that in the plebiscite of 1861, in 
which the people who had been freed from their princes declared themselves 
in favour of the rule of the House of Savoy, the question had really been 

^ Hohenlohe relates that in 1874, when he was ambassador in Paris, some 
one said to him that the Frenchman is democrate and authoritaire. Con- 
sequently the empire was the best form of government for the French and 
was the hope of the future, for this form of government satisfied both 
these popular needs (BenkwurdigTceiten, ed. cit., vol. ii, p. 126). Napo- 


Once elected, the chosen of the people can no longer be op- 
posed in any way. He personifies the majority, and all resist- 
ance to his will is antidemocratic. The leader of such a democ- 
racy is irremovable, for the nation, having once spoken, cannot 
contradict itself. ^^ He is, moreover, infallible, for ''I'Elu de six 
millions de suffrages execute les volontes du peuple, il ne les 
trahi pas." It is reasonable and necessary that the adversaries 
of the government should be exterminated in the name of popular 
sovereignty, for the chosen of the people acts within his rights 
as representative of the collective will, established in his position 
by a spontaneous decision.^* It is the electors themselves, we 
are assured, who demand from the chosen of the people that he 

put in such a way as to leave no other choice, for the alternatives proposed 
were the kingdom versus nothing at all. Further, if we were to accept the 
principle that tacit endurance signifies approval, every political situation 
would, apart from open rebellion of the ruled, be established upon a granite 
foundation of democracy. But such an idea of democracy is illogical, as 
false as is the logic of those bad governments which, as Macaulay says in 
one of his speeches, justify themselves by appealing to the aphorism: if 
the people is unruly, it is not ripe for liberty; while if it is quiet, it does 
not desire liberty. 

leon III admirably characterized the nature of Bonapartism when he de- 
clared of his system that it was based on democracy, since all its powers 
were conferred by the people, whilst in organization it was hierarchical, 
since such an organization was essential to stimulate the capacities slum- 
bering ia the various degrees of society {Idees Napoleoniennes, ed. cit., p. 

"In the time of Napoleon I a subtle distinction was made between the 
terms emaner and resider. In 1814, Count Mole remarked to the emperor 
that in the declaration of the Council there were certain dangerous words 
which recalled nothing so much as the principles of 1793: "EUe com- 
mence par 'toute souverainete reside dans le peuple.' Avec ce principe le 
peuple pent changer de gouvernement et de monarque tons les jours; il 
donne et retire a son gre la couronne, il pourra la refuser a votre fils; 
encore, s'il y avait emane; on pourrait dire qu'en deleguant a jamais a un 
homme et a sa race la souverainete il aliene le droit de la lui retirer, mais 
reside ne laisse pas de bornes a 1 'instabilite des institutions et du trone. " 
— ' ' Votre observation est tres juste, j 'en suis f rappe, ' ' replied the em- 
peror (Comte Mole, Les Cent- J ours. Documents inedits, "Eevue de la Eevo- 
lution," 1888, vol. xi, p. 95). 

"Such were the expressions used by Louis Napoleon in a speech at 
Lyons, immediately after he had been elected Life-President of the Ee- 
public (E. Tenot, Faris en Becembre 1851, ed. cit., p. 26). — When he first 
assumed the presidency in December 1848, Louis Napoleon, speaking to the 
Chamber, solemnly enunciated the principle: "3e verrai des ennemis de 
la Patrie dans tons ceux qui tenteraient de changer par des voies illegales ee 
que la France entiere a etabli" (V. Hugo, Napoleon le Petit, ed. cit., p. 16). 


should use severe repressive measures, should employ force, 
should concentrate all authority in his own hands.^* One of the 
consequences of the theory of the popular will being subsumed 
in the supreme executive is that the elements which intervene 
between the latter and the former, the public officials, that is to 
say, must be kept in a state of the strictest possible dependence 
upon the central authority, which, in its turn, depends upon 
the people.^^ The least manifestation of liberty on the part of 
the bureaucracy would be tantamount to a rebellion against the 
sovereignty of the citizens. The most characteristic feature of 
this view is the idea that the power of the chief of the state 
rests exclusively upon the direct will of the nation. Bonapartism 
does not recognise any intermediate links. The coup d'etat of 
December 2, 1851, was represented as an emancipation of the 
people from the yoke of parliament, and as having for its nec- 
essary corollary a plebiscite. Victor Hugo compared the rela- 
tionship between the parliament and the ministry under Na- 
poleon III to the relationship between master and servants, the 
master (the ministry) being appointed by the emperor, and the 
servants (the parliament) being elected by the people.^® This 
affirmation, though incontestable in fact, is theoretically inexact. 
In theory, every act of Bonapartism was perfectly legitimate, 
even if it led to the shedding of the blood of the citizens. The 
plebiscite was a purifying bath which gave legitimate sanction 
to every illegality. Napoleon III, when he received the formal 
announcement of his triumph in the plebiscite, declared that if 
in the coup d'etat he had infringed the laws it was only in 
order to reenter the paths of legality: "Je ne suis sorti de la 
legalite que pour rentrer dans le droit. ' ' He was granted abso- 
lution by seven million votes.^^ This sanction by plebiscite, 
three times repeated by the French people, and given to the 
illegal government of the third Napoleon — confirmed as it was 
by innumerable and noisy demonstrations of popular sympathy 
— gave to accommodating republicans a ready pretext for passing 
from the side of the opposition to that of the monarchy. "Was 

"Napoleon III maintained that it was only on account of the demo- 
cratic instincts of the first Napoleon that the emperor had not abolished 
the legislative bodies. The people would have had no objection to their 
abolition (Idees Napoleoniennes, ed. cit., p. 71). 

"^Ibid., p. 38. 

"V. Hugo, Napoleon le Petit, ed. cit., pp. 79, 80. 

" E. Tenot, Paris en Decemire, 1851, ed. cit., pp. 206, 207. 


not tliis plebiscitary Cgesarism established upon the same foun- 
dation as the republic of their dreams? Emile Ollivier divided 
the forms of government into the two great categories of per- 
sonal and national government. The ruler in the case of a na- 
tional government is no more than "un delegue de la nation 
pour 1 'exercice des droits sociaux. " ^^ In this manner his re- 
publican conscience was tranquillized and his conversion to 
Bonapartism could present itself as logical and in conformity 
with his principles. 

The history of modern democratic and revolutionary parties 
and trade unions exhibits phenomena similar to those we have 
been analysing. The reasons are not far to seek. In demo- 
cratic crowds, Bonapartism finds an eminently favourable soil, 
for it gives the masses the illusion of being masters of their 
masters; moreover, by introducing the practice of delegation it 
gives this illusion a legal colour which is pleasing to those who 
are struggling for their ''rights." Delegation, and the abdi- 
cation by the people of the direct exercise of power, are accom- 
plished in strict accordance with all the rules, by a deliberate 
act of the popular will, and without that metaphysical divine 
intervention vaunted on its own behalf by the detested heredi- 
tary and legitimate monarchy. The chosen of the people thus 
seems to be invested in his functions by a spontaneous act of 
the popular will; he appears to be the creature of the people. 
This way of looking at the relations between the masses and 
the leaders is agreeable to the amour propre of every citizen, 
who says to himself : ' ' Without me he would not be what he is ; 
I have elected him; he belongs to me." 
/Qr / There is another reason, at once psychological and historical, 
why the masses accept without protest a certain degree of tyr- 
anny on the part of their elected leaders : it is because the crowd 
submits to domination more readily when each one of its units 
shares the possibility of approximating to power, and even of 
acquiring some power for himself. The bourgeois and the 
French peasants in the middle of the nineteenth century, im- 
bued with democratic ideas, detested legitimate monarchy;, but 
they gladly gave their votes to the third Napoleon, remembering 
how readily many of their fathers had become great dignitaries 
under his glorious uncle.^® 

^* Emile Ollivier, Le 19 Janvier. Compte Bendu aux Electeurs de la III^ 
Circonscription de la Seine, Paris, 1869, 7th ed. p. 119. 
"Alexandre Herzen, Be I' autre Bive, Greneva, 1871, 3rd ed., p. 119. — In 


V Similarly in the case of political parties, the weight of an ^"^ 
oligarchy is rarely felt when the rights of the masses are codi- 
fied, and when each member may in the abstract participate in 
power. \ 

In virtue of the democratic nature of his election, the leader 
of a democratic organization has more right than the born leader 
of the aristocracy to regard himself as the emanation of the col- 
lective will, and therefore to demand obedience and submission 
to his personal will. As a socialist newspaper puts it: "The 
party executive is the authority imposed by the party as a whole 
and thus incorporating the party authority. The first demand 
of democratic discipline is respect for the executive. ' ' ^° The 
absolute obedience which the organized mass owes to its leaders 
is the outcome of the democratic relationships existing between 
the leaders and the mass, and is merely the collective submis- 
sion to the collective will.^^ 

The leaders themselves, whenever they are reproached for an 
anti-democratic attitude, appeal to the mass-will from which 
their power is derived by election, saying: "Since the masses 
have elected us and re-elected us as leaders, we are the legiti- 
mate expression of their will and act only as their representa- 
tives. " ^^ It was a tenet of the old aristocracy that to disobey 
the orders of the monarch was to sin against God. In modern 
democracy it is held that no one may disobey the orders of the 
oligarchs, for in so doing the people sin against themselves, de- 
fying their own will spontaneously transferred by them to their 
representatives,-^ and thus infringing democratic principle. In 

the light comedy Le Gamin de Paris by Bayard and Vanderburgh the words 
of the general typify the role of Napoleonism among the French common 
people: "Nous etions des enfants de Paris . . . des imprimeurs . . . 
des fils de charrons, nous avions du coeur . . . nous voulions faire notre 
chemin . . . nous serious peutetre restes en route . . . sans I'Empereur! 
. . . qui s'est trouve la . . . qui nous a emportes dans son tourbillon. 
... La chance etait tout!" (Velhagen, Bielefeld, 1861, 4th ed., p. 77). 

2° ' ' Diisseldorf er Volkszeitung, ' ' November 13, 1905. 

"This idea is admirably expressed by Eienzi (Van Kol), Socialisme et 
Liberie, ed. cit., p. 249. 

" This argument is repeatedly employed by socialist speakers. Their 
reasoning is that the veiy fact that the leaders are still leaders proves that 
they have the support of the masses — otherwise they would not be where 
they are, (Cf. Karl Legien's speech at the socialist congress of Jena ^ 
(Protokoll, "Vorwarts," Berlin, 1905, p. 265); also P. J. Troelstra, In- 
sake Fartijleiding, Toelichtingen en Gegevens, ed. cit., p. 97.) 

^ During the second empire the like reasoning was applied to defend 


democracies, the leaders base their right to command upon the 
democratic omnipotence of the masses. Every employee of the 
party owes his post to his comrades, and is entirely dependent 
upon their goodwill. "We may thus say that in a democracy 
each individual himself issues, though indirectly, the orders 
which come to him from above.^* Thus the reasoning by which 
the leaders' claim to obedience is defended and explained is, 
in theory, clear and unanswerable. In practice, however, the 
election of the leaders, and above all their re-election, is effected 
by such methods and under the influence of suggestions and 
other methods of coercion so powerful that the freedom of choice 
of the masses is Considerably impaired.^^; In the history of party 
life it is undeniable that the democratic system is reduced, in 
ultimate analysis, to the right of the masses, at stated intervals, 
to choose masters to whom in the interim they owe unconditional 
obedience. ''/ 

Under these conditions, there develops everywhere in the 
leaders, alike in the democratic political parties and in the trade 
unions, the same habit of thought. They demand that the masses 
should not merely render obedience, but that they should blindly 
and without murmuring carry out the orders which they, the 
leaders, issue deliberately and with full understanding of the 
circumstances. To the leaders it is altogether inconceivable that 
the actions of the supreme authority can be subjected to criti- 
cism, for they are intimately convinced that they stand above 
criticism, that is to say above the party. Engels, who was en- 
dowed with an extremely keen sense of the essence of democracy, 
regarded it as deplorable that the leaders of the German socialist 
party could not accustom themselves to the idea that the mere 
fact of being installed in office did not give them the right to 
be treated with more respect than any other comrade.^® 

the plebiscitary emperordom. For instance, Edmond About, one of the 
few distinguished democratic writers who had gone over to the Napoleonic 
camp, wrote: "Ce n'est pas obeir que de se conformer aux lois qu'on a 
faites, de remplir ses engagements envers les chefs qu'on a choisis: c'est se 
commander a soi-meme" (Edmond About, Le Tr ogres, Haehette, Paris, 
1864, p. 67). 

^*We owe to Georges Sorel the rediscovery of the relationships between 
democracy in general and absolutism, and their point of intersection in 
centralization. Cf., for instance, his lies Illusions du Progres, Kiviere, 
Paris, 1908, pp. 9 et seq. 

=== Cf . pp. 156 et seq. 

^F. Engels, in a letter dated March 21, 1891; also Karl Marx, in a let- 


It is especially exasperating to the leaders wlien the com- 
rades are not content with mere criticism, but act in opposition 
to the leaders' advice.^'^ When they speak of their differences 
with those whom they regard as inferiors in education and in- 
telligence, they are unable to restrain their moral indignation at 
such a profound lack of disciplined^ When the masses "kick 
against the advice of the leaders they have themselves chosen," 
they are accused of a great lack of tact and of intelligence. In 
the conference of trade-union executives held from February 
19 to 23, 1906 — a conference which marks an important stage in 
the history of the German labour movement — Paul IMliller, em- 
ployee of a trade union, complained bitterly that his revolu- 
tionary comrades of the socialist party were endeavouring "to 
estrange the members of the unions from the leaders they had 
chosen for themselves. They have been directly incited to rebel- 
lion. They have been openly urged to breaches of discipline. 
What other expressions can be used when in meetings we are 
told that the members ought to fight against their leaders ? " ^^ 

ter dated September 19, 1879 (Brief e u. Aussilge cms Brief en, etc., ed. cit., 
pp. 3,61 and 166). 

"Sometimes the members of the rank and file are officially exhorted to 
respect the authority of their elected representatives. In a Belgian trade- 
union journal we read among the "Ten Commandments" drawn up for 
the organized workers the following admonitions: "1. Be la propagande 
tu feras, pour grouper les indifferents; 2. Aus assembles tu assisteras, pour 
devenir intelligent; 3. Ta cotisation tu payeras, tons les mois regulierement ; 
4. Bans les cabarets tu ne critiqueras, ce qui n' arrive que trap souvent" 
("Journal des Correspondances, " Organe officiel des Syndicats affilies a la 
Commission Syndicale, Brussels, 1905, ii. No. 9). 

=* Here is a typical example. The socialist leaders of Chemnitz in Saxony 
had proposed to raise the price of subscription to the local organ of the 
party, but the majority of the socialist assembly of the constituency re- 
jected this proposition. Here are the remarks upon the subject made by 
one of the leaders: "An increase in the monthly price of subscription 
by 10 pfennig would have saved the situation. But the great moment did 
not find those ready to seize it. Neither the detailed report of the business 
manager, Comrade Landgraf, nor yet the magnificent expositions of Com- 
rades Noske and Heldt, of Zeisig and Eiemann, the members of the press 
committee, and others, who in the course of many years' active work have 
acquired a profound knowledge of journalistic enterprise, sufficed to con- 
vince the majority of the assembly that it was absolutely essential to in- 
crease the monthly subscription by 10 pfennig. The leaders had to submit 
to the indignity of seeing their proposal voted down" (" Volksstimme" 
of Frankfort, anno xxi. No. 37). 

''Partei u. GetverTcschaften, textual reprint from the §§ P. and G. of the 
Protokoll, p. 4. 


"Whenever a new current of opposition manifests itself witMn 
the party, the leaders immediately endeavour to discredit it with 
the charge of demagogy. If those of the comrades who are dis- 
contented with the leaders make a direct appeal to the masses, 
this appeal — ^however lofty may be its motives, however sincere 
the convictions of those who make it, however much they may 
be justified by a reference to fundamental democratic rights — 
is repudiated as inexpedient, and is even censured as a wicked 
attempt to break up the party, and as the work of vulgar in- 
triguers.^'' "We have to remember, in this connection, that the 
leaders, who hold in their hands all the mechanism of power, 
have the advantage of being able to assume an aureole of legal- 
ity, whereas the masses, or the subordinate leaders who are in 
rebellion, can always be placed in an unfavourable light of ille- 
gality. The magic phrase with which the leaders invariably suc- 
ceed in stifling embarrassing opposition in the germ is ' * the gen- 
eral interest." In such circumstances they exhibit a notable 
fondness for arguments drawn from the military sphere. They 
maintain, for instance, that, if only for tactical reasons, and in 
order to maintain a necessary cohesion in face of the enemy, 
the members of the party must never refuse to repose perfect 
confidence in the leaders they have freely chosen for themselves. 
It is in Germany, above all, that in the trade-union organizations 
the authoritarian spirit is developed with especial force, and 
that the leaders are prone to attribute to their adversaries the 
"criminal intention" of attempting "to dissolve trade-union 
discipline. ' ' ^^ Even the socialist leaders make similar charges 
against their opponents. If we translate such an accusation 
from the language of the trade-union leaders into that of gov- 
ernment officials, the charge becomes one of "inciting to revolt 
against constituted authority." If the critics are not officials 
of the party, if they are mere sympathizers or friends, they are 
then in the eyes of the attacked leaders intrusive and incompe- 
tent persons, without any right whatever to form an opinion on 
the matter. "On no account must the faith of the people be 
disturbed! Such is the principle in accordance with which all 

^°Cf. pp. 171, 172. 

'^At the conference of the trade-union executives, February 19 to 23, 
1906, Eexhauser said : ' ' The poison which spreads in this way through the 
masses corrodes everything, and when one day you want to unite for some 
decisive action, you find that discipline has gone to the devil, and that 
the rank and file will not obey their leaders" (ProtoTcoll, pp. 23-4). 


lively criticism of the objective errors of the movement are stig- 
matized as an attack on the movement itself, whilst the elements 
of opposition within the party are habitually execrated as ene- 
mies who wish to destroy the party. ' ' ^^ 

The general conduct of the leaders of democratic parties and 
the phraseology typically employed by them (of which our ex- 
amples might be multiplied a hundredfold) suffice to illustrate 
how fatal is the transition from an authority derived from ' ' the 
favour of the people " to a right based upon ' ' the grace of God ' ' 
— in a word, to the system which in French history we know by 
the name of Bonapartism. A right of sovereignty born of the 
plebiscite soon becomes a permanent and inviolable dominion. 

^^Eosa Liixemburg, writing of the trade-union leaders in Massenstreik, 
Partei u. GewerkscJiaften, ed. cit., p. 61. 



We have shown that in their struggle against their enemies 
within the party the leaders of the labour movement pursue a 
tactic and adopt an attitude differing very little from those of 
the "bourgeois" government in its struggle with "subversive" 
elements. The terminology which the powers-that-be employ is, 
mutatis mutandis, identical in the two cases. The same accusa- 
tions are launched against the rebels, and the same arguments 
are utilized in defence of the established order: in one case an 
appeal is made for the preservation of the state ; in the other, 
for that of the party. In both cases, also, there is the same 
confusion of ideas when the attempt is made to define the rela- 
tionships between thing and person, individual and collectivity. 
The authoritarian spirit of the official representatives of the 
German socialist party (a spirit which necessarily characterizes 
every strong organization) exhibits several striking analogies 
with the authoritarian spirit of the official representatives of 
the German empire. On the one side we have William II, who 
advises the "malcontents," that is to say those of his subjects 
who do not consider that all is for the best in the best of all 
possible empires, to shake the dust off their feet and go else- 
where. On the other side we have Bebel, exclaiming that it is 
time to have done once for all with the eternal discontents and 
sowings of discord within the party, and expressing the opinion 
that the opposition, if it is unable to express itself as satisfied 
with the conduct of affairs by the executive, had better "clear 
out. ' ' ^ Between these two attitudes, can we find any difference 
other than that which separates a voluntary organization (the 
party), to which one is free to adhere or not as one pleases, 
from a coercive organization (the state), to which all must be- 
long by the fact of birth ? ^ 

* Au^st Bebel, speech to the Dresden congress, Protolcoll, p. 308. 
''In the text, the writer has repeatedly mentioned the name of Bebel 



It may perhaps be said that there is not a single party leader 
who fails to think and to act, and who, if he has a lively tempera- 
ment and a frank character, fails to speak, after the example of 
Le Roi Soleil, and to say Le Parti c'est moi.^ 

when he has wished to illustrate by typical examples the conduct of the 
leaders towards the masses. Yet it would be erroneous to regard Bebel 
as a typical leader. He was raised above the average of leaders, not only 
by his great intellectual gifts, but also by his profound sincerity, the out- 
come of a strong and healthy temperament, which often led him to say 
things openly which others would have left unsaid and to do things openly 
which others would have left concealed. It was for this reason that 
"Kaiser Bebel" was frequently exposed to the suspicion of being excep- 
tionally autocratic in his conduct and undemocratic in his sentiments. 
Nevertheless, a thorough analysis of Bebel 's character and of his conduct 
on various memorable occasions would establish that, side by side with a 
marked tendency to self-assertion and a taste for the intrinsic forms of 
rule, he exhibited strong democratic leanings, which distinguished him 
from the average of his colleagues, just as much as he was distinguished 
from them by the frankness with which he always displayed his dictatorial 
temperament. This is not the place for such an analysis, but the writer felt 
it was necessary to guard against a false interpretation of his references 
to Bebel by a brief allusion to the complexity of character of this re- 
markable man. In ultimate analysis, Bebel was no more than a represen- 
tative of his party, but he was one in whom the individual note was never 
suppressed by the exigencies of leadership or of demagogy. 

^We learn this from a study of all the great party leaders. As regards 
Marx, ef. Michels, Storia del Marxismo in Italia, Bocca, Turin, 1909, pp. 
19 et seq. — As regards Lassalle, cf. Julius Vahlteich, Ferdinand Lassalle, 
ed. cit., pp. 42 et seq. — Liebknecht's ofi&cial biographer tells us that he 
was not always able, owing to his strong and lively individuality, to dis- 
tinguish between persons and things (Kurt Eisner, Wilhelm Lieblcnecht, 
"Vorwarts," Berlin, 1906, 2nd ed., p. 100).— Of Bebel, von Gerlach, one 
of his admirers, wrote: "He lives only for the party, identifying himself 
fully with the party. This is his strength, but often also it is his weakness. 
Just as Bismarck regarded every attack upon Bismarck as an attack upon 
the well-being of the German empire, so Bebel sees in every attack upon 
Bebel an attack upon the party interests. Thus his intervention is ex- 
traordinarily weighty, but often it is extremely unjust. Very rarely has 
he been fair to his opponents, and least of all to his opponents within the 
party. . . . He always regards himself as the guardian of the party in- 
terests, and his personal adversaries as the enemies of the party. Hia 
subjectivity is really terrible" (Helmuth von Gerlach, August Beiel. Ein 
Mographisclie Essay, Albert Langen, Munich, 1909, pp. 59, 60). Cf. also 
the speech against Bebel delivered by Vollmar at the Dresden congress, 
1903 (ProtoTcoll, pp. 321 et seq.). — VoUmar's speech reminds us of Zi- 
bordi's bitter criticism of Enrico Ferri: "This man speaks of himself, 
of himself, of himself; of his mother, his wife, his children, always with 
reference to himself; of his own talents, of his own career, of his enemies, 
of his forecastsj of his goodness, of his health. The workers, socialism. 


The bureaucrat identifies himself completely with the organi- 
zation, confounding his own interests with its interests. All 
objective criticism of the party is taken by him as a personal 
affront. This is the cause of the obvious incapacity of all party 
leaders to take a serene and just view of hostile criticism.* The 
leader declares himself personally offended, doing this partly in 
good faith, but in part deliberately, in order to shift the battle- 
ground, so that he can present himself as the harmless object of 
an unwarrantable attack, and arouse in the minds of the masses 
towards his opponents in matters of theory that antipathy which 
is always felt for those whose actions are dictated by personal 
rancour.^ If, on the other hand, the leader is attacked per- 
sonally, his first care is to make it appear that the attack is di- 
rected against the party as a whole. He does this not only on 
diplomatic grounds, in order to secure for himself the support 
of the party and to overwhelm the aggressor with the weight of 
numbers, but also because he quite ingenuously takes the part 

proletarian polities, the nation, are always discussed by him as centering 
in his own personality" (G. Zibordi, La "Tournee" oratoria di E. Ferri, 
"Secolo," April 25, 1911). Yet this way of speaking must not be at- 
tributed to personal vanity; it is rather the inevitable consequence of 
Ferri 's absolute conviction of his sovereign power over the masses. 

* Here are typical examples. The leaders of the Italian socialists in the 
early part of 1870, well-to-do idealists ready for sacrifice and for martyr- 
dom, derived for the most part from the upper bourgeois and aristocratic 
circles, were described by Marx as a crowd of rascally students seeking 
careers in the International. The reason for this outburst of spleen was 
that the Italians had without exception supported Bakunin and opposed 
Marx (cf. E. Michels, Froletariato e Borghesia, ed. cit., pp. 63-76). Engels, 
again, speaking of the opposition within the party, of the group known as 
die Jungen, to which Hans Miiller, Paul Ernst, Bruno Wille, Paul 
Kampffmeyer, O. E. Hartleben, etc., belonged, qualified them in the fol- 
lowing terms: "Unquestionably there are some among them in the pay 
of the police; others are masked anarchists who wish to make recruits 
from among our ranks; the rest are blockheads, students swollen with con- 
ceit, would-be candidates, and self-seekers of all kinds" {Brief e u. Aus- 
siige, ed. cit., p. 370). 

^ In a polemic against the Marxists of the party, the trade-union leader 
H. Jochade writes : * * We have to ask ourselves seriously what is the mean- 
ing of this new campaign. Is it dictated by the love of scandal, by the 
excess of zeal of a few quill-drivers, or have malice and cunning anything 
to do with the matter? There can be no doubt that all these influences are 
at work in originating the attack upon the trade-union employees" (Krieg 
gegen die Gewerlcschaftsbeamten, " Korrespondenzblatt der Generalkom- 
mission der Gewerkschaften Deutschlands, " anno xviii, No. 51, December 
19, 1908, p. 810). 


for the whole. This is frequently the outcome, not merely of 
blind fanaticism, but of firm conviction. According to Netcha- 
jeff, the revolutionary has the right of exploiting, deceiving, 
robbing, and in ease of need utterly ruining, all those who do 
not agree unconditionally with his methods and his aims, for 
he need consider them as nothing more than chair a conspiration. 
His sole objective must be to ensure the triumph of his essen- 
tially individual ideas, without any respect for persons — La 
Revolution c'est moi! Bakunin uttered a sound criticism of this 
mode of reasoning when he said that its hidden source was to 
be found in Netchajeff 's unconscious but detestable ambition.® 
\, The despotism of the leaders does not arise solely from a vul- ' "^ 
gar lust of power or from uncontrolled egoism, but is often the 
outcome of a profound and sincere conviction of their own value 
and of the services which they have rendered to the common 
cause. The bureaucracy which is most faithful and most effi- 
cient in the discharge of its duties is also the most dictatorial. ( 
To quote Wolfgang Heine: ''The objection is invalid that the 
incorruptibility and efficiency of our party officials, and their 
love for the great cause, would suffice to raise a barrier against 
the development of autocracy within the party. The very op- 
posite is true. Officials of high technical efficiency who unself- 
ishly aim at the general good, like those whom we are fortunate 
enough to possess in the party, are more than all others inclined, 
being well aware of the importance of their own services, to 
regard as inalterable laws whatever seems to them right and 
proper, to suppress conflicting tendencies on the ground of the 
general interest, and thus to impose restraints upon the healthy 
progress of the party. ' ' ^ Similarly, where we have to do with 
excellent and incorruptible state officials like those of the Ger- 
man empire, the megalomaniac substitution of thing for person 
is partly due to the upright consciences of the officials and to 
their great devotion to duty.^ Among the members of such a 

"James Guillaume, L' Internationale, ed. cit., vol. ii, p. 62. 

^W. Heine, DemoTcratisclie BandbemerJcu7igen sum Fall GoJire, "Soz. 
Monatsh., " viii (x), fasc. iv, p. 284. 

* ' * The [Prussian] state tends to become a republic of official employees, 
in which the employees are the only fully qualified citizens, whilst all oth- 
ers, notwithstanding the apparent possession of constitutional rights, exist 
simply in order to be ruled and to provide the cost of working the govern- 
mental machine. The danger is not lessened by the fact that the bureau- 
cracy does not merely make a profession of working for the general good, 
but is honestly convinced that it is endeavouring to secure it. Every official 


bureaucracy, there is hardly one who does not feel that a pin- 
prick directed against his own person is a crime committed 
against the whole state. It is for the same reason that they all 
hold together comme les doigts de la main. Each one of them 
regards himself as an impersonation of a portion of the whole 
state, and feels that this portion will suffer if the authority of 
any other portion is impaired.^ Further, the bureaucrat is apt 
to imagine that he knows the needs of the masses better than 
these do themselves,^" an opinion which may be sound enough in 
individual instances, but which for the most part is no more 
than a form of megalomania. Undoubtedly the party official is 
less exposed than the state official to the danger of becoming 
fossilized, for in most cases he has work as a public speaker, and 
in this way he maintains a certain degree of contact with the 
masses. On the other hand, the applause which he seeks and 
receives on these occasions cannot fail to stimulate his personal 

When in any organization the oligarchy has attained an ad- 
vanced stage of development, the leaders begin to identify with 
themselves, not merely the party institutions, but even the party 
property, this phenomenon being common both to the party and 
to the state. In the conflict between the leaders and the rank 
and file of the German trade unions regarding the right to strike, 
the leaders have more than once maintained that the decision 
in this matter is morally and legally reserved for themselves, 
because it is they who provide the financial resources which en- 
able the workers to remain on strike .^^ This view is no more 
than the ultimate consequence of that oligarchical mode of 
thought which inevitably leads to a complete forgetfulness of 
true democratic principles. In Genoa, one of the labour leaders, 
whose influence had increased pari passu with the growing 
strength of the organized proletariat of the city, and who, en- 

who seeks to maintain his own power persuades himself that he does this 
for the benefit of the ruled" (W. Heine, Die Beamten Eepublilc, "Marz," 
anno iii, fasc. 21, p. 175). 

*Edmond About, Le Progres, Hachette, Paris, 1864, p. 232. 

" Max Weber, for instance, in a discussion upon municipal enterprise at 
the Vienna congress of the Verein fiir Sozialpolitik declared: "I should 
think myself a very poor bureaucrat indeed, if I did not believe myself to 
know better than these blockheads what is really good for them" (Pro- 
toTcoll, p. 285). 

"Cf. " Korrespondenzblatt der Gewerkschaften Deutschlands, " anno vii, 
No. 28. 


joying the unrestricted confidence of his comrades, had acquired 
the most various powers and had filled numerous positions in 
the party, regarded himself as justified, when as a representa- 
tive of the workers he made contracts with capitalists and con- 
cluded similar affairs, in feathering his own nest in addition to 
looking after the workers' interests.^^ 

" This was the barrister, Gino Murialdi, who in youth had made many 
sacrifices for the movement. He was in receipt of a re^lar salary from 
the trade unions and cooperative societies, but this did not prevent him 
from accepting money from the employers when he was negotiating with 
them as the workers' representative. When taken to task on this account, 
he said that by his exertions he had obtained such brilliant advantages for 
the workers, that he saw no reason why he should not secure for himself 
a little extra profit at the cost of the employers. Murialdi 's actions led 
to a violent quarrel between him and the other leaders in Genoa, and ul- 
timately caused his expulsion from the socialist party. Cf . ' ' Avanti, ' ' anno 
xiii (1909), Nos. 1 and 24. 






V The masses are not easily stirred. Great events pass before 
their eyes and revolutions are accomplished in economic life 
without their minds' undergoing profound modifications. Very 
slowly do they react to the influence of new conditions. 

For decades, and even for centuries, the masses continue to 
endure passively outworn political conditions which greatly im- 
pede legal and moral progress.^ Countries which from the eco- 
nomic point of view are fairly well advanced, often continue to 
endure for lengthy periods a political and constitutional regime 
which derives from an earlier economic phase. This is espe- 
cially noteworthy in Germany, where an aristocratic and feudal 
form of government, the outcome of economic conditions which 
the country has outlived, has not yet been able to adapt itself 
to an economic development of the most advanced capitalist 

These historical phenomena, which at first sight appear para- 
doxical, arise from causes of two different orders. In the first 
place it may happen that classes or sub-classes representing an 
extinct economic form may survive from a time in which they 
were the authentic exponents of the then dominant economic re- 
lationships ; they have been able to save from the wreck a suffi- 
ciency of moral prestige and effective political force to maintain 
their dominion in the new phase of economic and civil develop- 
ment, and to do this even in opposition to the expressed will of 
the majority of the people. These classes succeed in maintain- 

^ " Unreflectingly, sometimes with a sigh, but often without a thought 
of the possibility of better things, the nations have borne for centuries, and 
continue to bear, all the burdens and all the shames imposed upon them 
by tyranny, like the lower animals, who with satisfaction and even grati- 
tude accept a bare subsistence, from the hand of the master to whom they 
belong, and who makes use of them and chastises them at his will" (Carl 
von Eotteck, Allgemeine GeschicMe, etc., ed. cit., p. 81). 



ing themselves in power by the strength of their own political 
energy and with the assistance of numerous elements essentially 
foreign to themselves, but which they can turn to their own ad- 
vantage by suggestive influences. JMost commonly, however, we 
find that the classes representing a past economic order continue 
to maintain their social predominance only because the classes 
representing the present or future economy have as yet failed 
to become aware of their strength, of their political and eco- 
nomic importance, and of the wrongs which they suffer at the 
hands of society. ; Moreover, a sense of fatalism and a sad con- 
viction of impotence exercise a paralysing influence in social life. 
As long as an oppressed class is influenced by this fatalistic 
spirit, as long as it has failed to develop an adequate sense of 
social injustice, it is incapable of aspiring towards emancipation. 
It is not the simple existence of oppressive conditions, but it is 
the recognition of these conditions hy the oppressed, which in 
the course of history has constituted the prime factor of class 

The mere existence of the modern proletariat does not suffice 
per se to produce a "social problem." The class struggle, if it 
is not to remain a nebulous theory, in which the energy is for 
ever latent, requires to be animated by class consciousness. 

It is the involuntary work of the bourgeoisie to arouse in the 
proletariat that class consciousness which is necessarily directed 
against the bourgeoisie itself. History is full of such ironies. 
It is the tragical destiny of the bourgeoisie to be instructor of 
the class which from the economic and social point of view is 
its own deadly enemy. As Karl Marx showed in his Commu7iist 
Manifesto, the principal reason for this is found in the unceas- 
ing struggle which the bourgeoisie is forced to carry on "at once 
with the aristocracy, with those sections of its own class whose 
interests are opposed to industrial progress, and with the bour- 
geoisie of all foreign countries," Unable to carry on this strug- 
gle effectively by its own unaided powers, the bourgeoisie is 
continually forced "to appeal to the proletariat, to demand its 
aid, and thus to launch the proletariat into the political melee, 
thus putting into the hands of the proletariat a weapon which 

' This is now generally recognized, as, for instance, even by so guarded 
a writer as Johannes Conrad in his Grundriss zum Studium der politischen 
Oekonomie, Part II; VolkswirtschaftspoUtik, Fischer, Jena, 1898, 2nd ed., 
p. 48, 


the latter will turn against the bourgeoisie itself.' Under yet 
another aspect the bourgeoisie appears as the instructor, as the 
fencing-master of the working class. Through its daily contact 
with the proletariat there results the detachment from its own 
body of a small number of persons who devote their energies to 
the service of the working classes, in order to inflame these for 
the struggle against the existing order, to make them feel and 
understand the deficiencies of the prevailing economic and social 
regime. It is true that the number of those who are detached 
from the bourgeoisie to adhere to the cause of the proletariat is 
never great. But those who thus devote themselves are among 
the best of the bourgeoisie ; they may, in a sense, be regarded as 
supermen, raised above the average of their class, it may be by 
love of their neighbours, it may be by compassion, it may be by 
moral indignation against social injustice or by a profound the- 
oretical understanding of the forces at work in society, or, 
finally, by a greater energy and logical coherence in the transla- 
tion of their principles into practice. In any case, they are ex- 
ceptional individualities, these bourgeois who, deserting the class 
in which they were born, give a deliberate direction to the in- 
stincts still slumbering in the proletariat, and thus hasten the 
emancipation of the proletarian class as a whole. 

The proletarian mass is at first aware by instinct alone of the 
oppression by which it is burdened, for it entirely lacks the in- 
struction which might give a clue to the understanding of that 
historical process which is in appearance so confused and laby- 
rinthine. It would seem to be a psychologico-historical law that 
any class which has been enervated and led to despair in itself 
through prolonged lack of education and through deprivation of 
political rights, cannot attain to the possibility of energetic ac- 
tion until it has received instruction concerning its ethical rights 
and politico-economical powers, not alone from members of its 
own class, but also from those who belong to what in vulgar par- 
lance are termed a ''higher" class. Great class-movements have 
hitherto been initiated in history solely by the simple reflection : 
it is not we alone, belonging to the masses without education and 
without legal rights, who believe ourselves to be oppressed, but 
that belief as to our condition is shared by those who have a 
better knowledge of the social mechanism and who are therefore 

'Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto, "Vorwarts," Berlin, 1901, 6tli 
ed., p. 16. 


better able to judge; since the cultured people of the upper 
classes have also conceived the ideal of our emancipation, that 
ideal is not a mere chimera.^ 

The socialist theory has arisen out of the reflections of philos- 
ophers, economists, sociologists, and historians. In the socialist 
programmes of the different countries, every word represents a 
synthesis of the work of numerous learned men.° The fathers 
of modern socialism were with few exceptions men of science 
primarily, and in the second place only were they politicians in 
the strict sense of the term. It is true that before the days of 
such men there were spontaneous proletarian movements initi- 
ated by an instinctive aspiration towards a higher intellectual 
and economic standard of life. But these movements manifest 
themselves rather as the mechanical outcome of an unreflecting 
though legitimate discontent, than as the consequence of a genu- 
ine sentiment of revolt inspired by a clear consciousness of op- 
pression. It was only when science placed itself at the service 
of the working class that the proletarian movement became 
transformed into a socialist movement, and that instinctive, un- 
conscious, and aimless rebellion was replaced by conscious as- 
piration, comparatively clear, and strictly directed towards a 
well-defined end. 

Similar phenomena are apparent in all earlier class struggles. 
Every great class-movement in history has arisen upon the insti- 
gation, with the co-operation, and under the leadership of men 
sprung from the very class against which the movement was di- 
rected. Spartacus, who urged the slaves to revolt on behalf of 
their freedom, was, it is true, of servile origin, but he was a 
freedman, a Thracian property-owner. Thomas Miinzer, to 
whose agitation the Thuringian Peasants' War was largely due, 

*This sequence of ideas is so obvious that its recognition has been gen- 
eral. Otto von Leixner, for instance, notwithstanding the superficiality of 
his studies, refers to it in his psychological sketches upon the labour move- 
ment in Berlin. (Cf. Sosiale Brief e aus Berlin, 1888-91, Pfeilstiicker, Ber- 
lin, 1891, p. 147.) 

^ This is admitted even by the opponents of socialism. Oldenberg, for 
instance, writes: "From the historical point of view, socialism is an ideal- 
ist fantasy, mechanically transplanted into the heads of the proletarian 
masses from the highest spheres of philosophical and scientific thought. 
It is from the outset a misalliance, described by Lassalle as 'the alliance 
between science and the workers' " (Karl Oldenberg, Die Ziele der 
deutschen SozialdemoTcratie in Evangelisch-sosiale Zeitfragen, Grunow, 
Leipzig, 1891, p. 58). 


was not a peasant but a man of learning. Florian Geier was a 
knight. The most distinguished leaders of the movement for the 
emancipation of the tiers etat at the outset of the French Revolu- 
tion, Lafayette^ Mirabeau, Roland, and Sieyes, belonged to the 
privileged classes, and Philippe-Egalite, the regicide, was even 
a member of the royal house. The history of the modern labour 
movement furnishes no exception to this rule. When the Ger- 
man historian, Theodor Lindner, affirms ^ that the contemporary 
socialist movement is always "called to life" by non-workers^, we 
must indeed criticize the statement, which recalls to our mind 
the working of the necromancer's magic wand: "Let there be 
a labour movement ! And there was a labour movement. ' ' Lind- 
ner 's statement is likewise inexact and incomplete, because it 
fails to recognize that this "calling to life" cannot produce 
something out of nothing, and that it cannot be the work of one 
of those famous "great men" whom a certain school of his- 
torians make the corner-stone of their theory of historical causa- 
tion — for the coming into existence of the labour movement 
necessarily presupposes a given degree of social and economic 
development, without which no movement can be initiated. But 
Lindner's view, though badly formulated, is to this extent true, 
that the heralds of the modern labour movement are chiefly de- 
rived from the ' ' cultured classes. ' ' ^ The great precursors of 
political socialism and leading representatives of philosophical 
socialism, Saint-Simon, Fourier, and Owen; the founders of 
political socialism^, Louis Blanc, Blanqui, and Lassalle; the 
fathers of economic and scientific socialism, Marx, Engels, and 
Rodbertus, were all bourgeois intellectuals. Of comparatively 
trifling importance in the international field, alike in respect of 
theory and of practice, were Wilhelm Weitling, the tailor's ap- 
prentice, and Pierre Leroux, the self-taught philosopher. It is 
only Proudhon, the working printer, a solitary figure, who at- 
tains to a position of superb grandeur in this field. Even among 
the great orators who during recent years have been devoted to 
the cause of labour, ex-bourgeois constitute the great majority, 
while men of working-class origin are altogether exceptional. 
Pages could be filled with the names of leading socialist politi- 

« Theodor Lindner, GeschichtspMlosophie, Cotta, Stuttgart, 1904, 2nd ed., 
p. 132. 

' This was pointed out by Heinrich von Sybel as long ago as 1872. Cf. 
Die Lehren des heutigen Sosialismus u. Kommunismus, M. Cohen, Bonn, 
1872, p. 91. 


cians sprung from the bo-urgeoisie, whereas in a single breath we 
could complete the list of political leaders of truly working-class 
origin whose names will be immortalized in the history of their 
class. We have Benoit Malon, August Bebel, and Eduard An- 
seele; but not one of these, although they are great practical 
leaders of the working class and potent organizers, is numbered 
among the creative theorists of socialism. 

The presence of bourgeois elements in the proletarian move- 
ment organized to form a political party is a historical fact, and 
one which may be noted wherever the political movement of the 
international working class is attentively observed.^ This phe- 
nomenon reproduces itself wherever the socialist tree throws out 
new branches^ as may be seen, for example, in Japan and Brazil.^ 

Moreover, this phenomenon must be considered as a logical 
consequence of historical evolution. Nay more, it has been 

*Iii studies relating to individual countries this has been made almost 
everywhere apparent. Eegarding Italy, cf. Michels, Proletariato e Borglie- 
sia nel Movimento Socialista Italiano, ed. cit., pp. 19-118. Eegarding Eng- 
land, ef. Eduard Bernstein, Die Arieiterbewegung, ed. cit., p. 144; W. E. 
H. Lecky, Democracy and Liberty, Longmans, London, 1899, vol. ii, p. 370. 
Regarding Russia, cf. Eine geJieime Benkschrift uber die nihilistischen 
Umtriebe vom Jahre 1875, compiled from the official reports of the Russian 
Minister of Justice, Count von der Pahlen, "Deutsche Rundschau," anno 
vii (1881), fasc. 9; and from the revolutionary side, BericM an den Inter- 
nationalen SosialistiscJien Congress in Paris, 1900, Veber die russische 
SosialdemoTcratische Beivegung, Geschrieben im Auftrage des Bundes rus- 
sischer SosialdemoJcraten von der Bedalotion der Babotscheje Djelo, by Boris 
Kricewski, in which we are told that "the propagandist group of the Rus- 
sian social democracy during the years 1890-5 consisted almost exclusively 
of intellectuals (p. 5). Regarding France, Mermeix, La France socialists. 
Notes d'un Contemporain, Fetseherin and Chuit, Paris, 1886, 3rd ed., p. 52. 
In Holland, the bourgeois elements in the socialist party are so numerous, 
that the adversaries of socialism have taken advantage of the fact to 
coin a nickname for the party. Its official name is Sociaal-Demokratische 
Arbeiders Partij, known for short as S.D.A.P. In the nickname, the ini- 
tials are expanded into Studenten Dominees en Advokaten Partij. (Cf, 
Schaper, Op. de Bres. Alfabetisch StrijdscJirift voor de Sociaal-Demo- 
Tcratie, Stuffers, The Hague, 1905, p. 23.) 

^Regarding the origin of socialism in Japan, see the study by Gustav 
Eckstein, Die Arbeiterbewegung im modernen Japan, "Neue Zeit," anno 
xxii, vol. i, pp. 667 et seq. — In Brazil, at the second congress of the So- 
cialist Workers of Brazil held at Sao Paulo in 1902, where the party first 
became firmly organized and established its programme, of the seven per- 
sons constituting the party executive, no less than three bore the title of 
"Doctor." (Cf. Paul Lobe, Die sosialistische Partei Brasiliens, "Neue 
Zeit," anno xx, vol. ii, p. 529.) As far as the writer is aware, the two 
members of the executive of Italian origin were also intellectuals. 


shown that not merely the presence of ex-bourgeois in the party 
of the fighting proletariat, but further the leading role which 
these play in the movement for proletarian enfranchisement, is 
the outcome of historical necessity. 

The question might arise, and it has in fact been mooted, 
whether the presence of a large number of bourgeois refugees 
among the proletarian militants does not give the lie to the the- 
ory of the class struggle. In other words, we have to ask whether 
the desired future social order in which all class distinctions are 
to be abolished (for this is the common aim, more or less dis- 
tinctly formulated, of all socialists and other advanced reform- 
ers, ethical culturists, anarchists, neo-Christians, etc.) may not 
come to be realized by a gradual psychical transformation of the 
bourgeoisie, which will become increasingly aware of the injus- 
tice of its peculiar economic and social privileges. This consid- 
eration naturally leads us to ask whether the sharp line of cleav- 
age which exists on the political field between class-parties rep- 
resenting class-interests is really necessary, or whether it is not 
a sort of cruel sport, and therefore useless and injurious. Eu- 
dolph Penzig, editor of ' ' Ethische Kultur, " in a controversy with 
the present writer, went so far as to claim that the deserters 
from the bourgeoisie to the socialist ranks were "precursors."^" 
Now this expression logically involves the belief that these bour- 
geois pioneers will be followed by the whole mass of the bour- 
geoisie, who will thus come over to the camp of those who eco- 
nomically and socially are their moral enemies. We might be 
inclined to speak of this as a theory of hara-kiri, did we not 
know that hara-kiri is not usually practised as a deliberate vol- 
untary act, but is effected in obedience to orders from above, to 
coercion from without. Let us briefly examine the soundness of 
the theory in question. 

The socialist poet Edmondo de Amicis enumerates the factors 
which he regards as working most effectively for the ultimate vic- 
tory of socialism. There is the general sense of weariness which, 
in his opinion, follows a great industrial crisis, and the utter 
disgust felt by the possessing classes with the unending strug- 
gle ; there is the anxiety felt by these sam.e classes to avoid at 
all costs a revolution in which they are destined to perish mis- 
erably, overcome by fire and sword ; there is, finally, the indefi- 

"Eudolph Penzig, Die TJnvernunft des Klassenlampfes, written in an- 
swer to K. Michels, Endziel, Intransigens, Eihik, "Ethische Kultur," De- 
cember 26, 1903, xii, No. 52. 


nite need, with which the bourgeoisie is also affected, for rejuve- 
nation and idealism, and for avoiding "the horror of living amid 
the ruins of an expiring world. "^^ A similar train of thought 
was expressed fifty years earlier by Heinrich Heine, who lacked 
to make him a fighter for socialism merely the courage to give 
open expression to his political ideas. In his letters from Paris 
upon politics, art, and national life he writes, under date June 
15, 1843: "I wish here to draw especial attention to the point 
that for communism it is an incalculable advantage that the en- 
emy against which the communists contend has, despite all his 
power, no firm moral standing. Modern society defends itself 
simply because it must do so, without any belief in its own 
rights, and even without any self-respect, just like that ancient 

society which crumbled to ruin at the coming of the carpenter's 
son." 12 

In many respects, the views of these two poets may be ac- 
cepted. And yet it seems more than questionable whether a dy- 
ing bourgeois society would not defend itself to the last, and 
endeavour to maintain by force of arms, if need be, its property 
and its prerogatives, however greatly these might be undermined 
and threatened, in the hope that the final victory of the prole- 
tariat might at least be postponed. Unquestionably, too, Heine 's 
opinion in 1843 that in the bourgeoisie of his day there was a 
widespread lack of confidence, is open to criticism, seeing that, 
as we all know, the bourgeois resistance is to this day animated 
by a vigorous belief in his own rectitude. But the fundamental 
thought of de Amicis and Heine is so far sound, in that a society 
which lacks a lively faith in its own rights is already in its 
political death-agony. A capacity for the tough and persevering 
defence of privilege presupposes in the privileged class the ex- 
istence of certain qualities, and in especial of a relentless energy, 
which might thrive, indeed, in association with cruelty and un- 
conscientiousness, but which is enormously more prosperous if 
based upon a vigorous faith in its own rectitude. As Pareto has 
said,^^ the permeation of a dominant class by humanitarian 
ideas, which lead that class to doubt its own moral right to exist- 
ence, demoralizes its members and makes them inapt for defence. 

The same law operates likewise where men are absolutely con- 

"Edmondo de Amicis, Lotte civili, Nerbini, Florence, 1899, p. 294. 
"Heinrich Heine, Lutetia in Sdmtliche WerTce, Hoffmann u. Kampe, 
Hamburg, 1890, x, p. 93. 
13 Vilf redo Pareto, Les Systemes socialistes, ed. cit., vol. i, pp. 37 and 57. 


vinced of their sacred right to existence. It is equally valid of 
national aggregates. "Where a nation lacks the sense of such a 
right, decadence and ruin inevitably ensue. We may regard it 
as an established historical law that races, legal systems, institu- 
tions, and social classes, are inevitably doomed to destruction 
from the moment they or those who represent them have lost 
faith in their own future. The Poles, widely dispersed, and dis- 
membered among three separate powers, have preserved their 
nationality and their faith in themselves and in their rights. No 
power in the world, not to mention the Prusso-Eussian micro- 
cosm, can annihilate the Polish people whilst their brains still 
cherish the consciousness of their right to national existence. 
The Wends, on the other hand, a Slav people like the Poles, 
owing to the nature of the historical epoch in which they were 
subdued and to the peculiar circumstances under which this 
historical occurrence took place, did not succeed in retaining in- 
tact the consciousness of their national existence — if they ever 
possessed one. Even where, as in the Spreewald, they have re- 
tained their language, they have been thoroughly absorbed into 
the German system, and are in our day, as Wends, completely 
expunged from the history of civilization. Although they in- 
habit quite a large area of Germany, they have in many cases 
so utterly lost all sense of their Slav origin as to have become 
the most ardent Pan-Germanists, although they are in reality 
Germans only in virtue of the legal fiction of the state and of 
the customs and speech which have been imposed upon them by 
their ancient conquerors. 

No social struggle in history has ever been permanently won 
unless the vanquished has as a preliminary measure been mor- 
ally weakened. The French Eevolution was rendered possible 
only because the ardent pre-revolutionary writers, Voltaire, 
D'Alembert, Rousseau, Holbach, Diderot, etc., who made so 
plainly manifest the "immorality" of the economic privileges 
possessed by the ruling classes of the old regime, had already 
demoralized (in the psychological sense of the word) a conspic- 
uous portion of the nobility and the clergy. Louis Blanc re- 
marked, apropos of the French Revolution : ' ' Sortie vibrante de 
I'Encyclopedie, ce grand laboratoire des idees du XVIIP siecle, 
elle n'avait plus en 1789, qu'a prendre materiellement possession 
d'un domaine deja conquis moral ement. " ^^ The unification of 

"Louis Blanc, Organisation du Travail, Camille, Paris, 1845, 4th ed., p. 


Italy, previously broken up into seven states, was effected with, 
a minimal shedding of blood (if we except the deaths that re- 
sulted in the struggle against foreigners), and after the founda- 
tion of the kingdom there was hardly a single inhabitant of the 
peninsula who shed any tears over the fate of the fallen dy- 
nasties, this attitude of mind forming a strong contrast to what 
happened in Germany in the corresponding historical period. 
The reason for the difference was that in Italy the unification of 
minds had long preceded the unification of administration.^^ In 
the war of secession in the United States of America, it was not 
merely the armed strength of the Northern states which decided 
the issue, but also the consciousness of moral error which to- 
wards the end of the war began to spread among a large number 
of the slave-owners of the Southern states.^^ Examples of this 
nature could be multiplied at will. 

The aim of agitation is to shake the opponent's self-confidence, 
to convince adversaries of the higher validity of our own argu- 
ments. Socialism can least of all afford to underrate the enor- 
mous force of rhetoric, the compelling power of persuasion, for 
it is to these means that socialism owes its great successes. But 
the force of persuasion has a natural limit imposed by social 
relationships. Where it is used to influence the convictions of 
the popular masses or of social classes to induce them to take 
part in a movement which is directed towards their own libera- 
tion, it is easy, under normal conditions, to attain to positive 
results. But attempts at persuasion fail miserably, as we learn 
again and again from the history of social struggles, when they 
are addressed to privileged classes, in order to induce these to 

" In the Pontifical State, even in the last years of its existence, a peti- 
tion of the Jewish community against the severity of the taxation imposed 
upon them was rejected on the express ground that the Jews deserved to 
be specially taxed because they had killed the Saviour of mankind. At 
popular festivals the Jews had to furnish a pig, which for the enjoyment 
of the people was rolled down from the Testaccio; until Clement IX gra- 
ciously modified the observance, it had been a Jew and not a pig! Not- 
withstanding these practices, which bear witness to the contempt felt for 
the Jews, the Eomans, immediately after the incorporation of the Pontif- 
ical State into the kingdom of Italy, elected a considerable number of 
their Jewish fellow-citizens as municipal councillors, provincial councillors, 
and parliamentary deputies. ' ' The revolution which had taken place in 
opinion was sufiicient to remove all obstacles" (Aristide Gabelii, Soma e i 
Bomani, "Nuova Antologia," anno xvi, p. 420). 

^° Woodrow Wilson, A History of the American People, Harper, New 
York and London, 1903, vol. iv, p. 311. 


abandon, to their own disadvantage, as a class and as individ- 
uals, the leading positions they occupy in society. 

The individual human being is not an economic automaton. 
His life consists of a perennial conflict between his financial 
needs and the interests which bind him to a given class or caste, 
on the one hand, and, on the other, those tendencies which are 
outside class considerations, outside the orbit of social struggles, 
and which may arouse in his mind passions capable of diverting 
him from a purely economic path, attracting him within the 
sphere of influence of some ideal sun, leading him to act in 
ways more consonant with his own individual character. But all 
this applies only to the individual human being. The mass, if 
we leave out of consideration certain pathological influences to 
which it is exposed, and which may lead its members into ac- 
tivities conflicting with purely material advantage, is unques- 
tionably an economic automaton. The common manifestations 
of its members are stamped with the seal of the economic inter- 
ests of the mass, just as the individual sheep of a flock bear the 
mark of their owner. Consequently the seal need not necessarily 
be useful to the individual who bears it, nor correspondent with 
his ends; any more than is the imprint upon the back of the 
sheep, which often consigns the animal to slaughter. But in the 
human herd the economic imprint extends its influence into the 
physical life. The kind of work and of interests imposed by 
economic conditions makes spirit and body alike dependent on 

It is doubtless true that the socialist doctrine has won over 
many children of bourgeois families, penetrating their minds so 
profoundly as to lead them to abandon everything else — ^to leave 
father and mother, friends and relatives, social position and re- 
spect. "Without regret and without hesitation they have conse- 
crated their lives to the emancipation of humanity as conceived 
by socialism. But we have here to do with isolated instances 
only, and not with compact groups representing an entire eco- 
nomic class. The class to which the deserters belong is no wise 
weakened by the desertion. A class considered as a whole never 
spontaneously surrenders its position of advantage. It never 
recognizes any moral reason sufficiently powerful to compel it 
to abdicate in favour of its ''poorer brethren." Such action is 
prevented, if by nothing else, by class egoism,^^ a natural attri- 

"From class egoism arises the only form of solidarity ktiowii to us in 


bute of the proletarian as of other social classes, with the dif- 
ference that, in the case of the proletariat, class egoism comes 
in ultimate analysis to coincide — in abstracto, at least — with the 
ideal of a humanity knowing nothing of classes.^® It will not be 
denied that in the various strata of the dominant and possessing 
classes there are considerable differences in the extent to which 
this class egoism is developed. There are certain representatives 
of landed property, and above all the Prussian junkers, who 
bluntly declare even to-day that we should treat as criminals or 
lunatics all who claim political, economic, or social rights by 
which their own class-privileges are endangered. There are 
other classes in modern society less hostile to reforms and less 
crassly egoistic than the numerically small class of the Prussian 
junkers; but these too are not accessible to considerations of 
social justice, except in so far as no sensible injury is offered 
to their instinctive class-interests.^^ The proletariat is therefore 

addition to the coercive (that of the state, the army, etc.). Collective life 
arises only out of the need for defence against common enemies. (Cf. 
Michels, La Solidarite en Allemagne, a report to the International Congress 
of Sociology held at Berne, August, 1909, and published in "Annales de 
I'Institut International de Sociologie, " Giard et Briere, Paris, 1910, vol. 
xu.) — ^At the same time it is unquestionable that with increasing class con- 
sciousness the social sentiment becomes narrowed in all classes, and that 
the morality of conduct towards the members of other classes diminishes, 
whilst morality towards other members of the same class is enhanced. This 
was pointed out quite recently by one of the Dutch socialists, amid storms 
of dissent from bourgeois and even from socialist moralists (Herman 
Gorter, Het Historisch Materialisme, Voor ArT) eiders verJclaard, "De Tri- 
bune," Amsterdam, 1909, p. 72). 

""AH earlier classes which attained to dominion endeavoured to secure 
the position they had conquered by subjecting the whole of society to the 
conditions of their system of exploitation. The proletariat, on the other 
hand, can effect a conquest of the social productive forces only by abol- 
ishing the existing mode of appropriation and therewith all previously 
existing modes of appropriation. Proletarians have no property of their 
own to safeguard" (Mars, Communist Manifesto, ed. cit., p. 17). 

*' It is by this that firm and unalterable limits are imposed upon so-called 
social reforms. The Prussian conservatives, constituting the party of the 
great landed proprietors, favoured laws for the protection of the workers 
until they perceived that an increase in the number of manufacturing oper- 
atives was leading to a dearth of labour in the rural districts. Thencefor- 
ward they showed themselves hostile to all measures for the improvement 
of the condition of the industrial workers. (Cf. the brief but brilliant 
essay by the Baroness Elisabeth von Eichthofen, at one time factory inspec- 
tor at Heidelberg, Ueier die Mstorische Wandlung in der Stellung der 
autoritdren Parteien sur Arheiterschutzgesetzgetung, und die Motive dieser 
Wandlungen, Eossler, Heidelberg, 1901.) 


perfectly logical in constituting itself into a class party, and 
in considering that the struggle against the bourgeoisie in all its 
gradations, viewed as a single class, is the only possible means of 
realizing a social order in which knowledge, health, and property 
shall not be, as they are to-day, the monopolies of a minority. 

There is no contradiction whatever between the necessity 
which leads the proletariat to fight the bourgeoisie on the lines 
of the class struggle and the necessity which leads it to lay so 
mueh stress upon the general principle of human rights. Un- 
questionably, in pursuit of the conquest of power, persuasion 
is an excellent means to employ, for, as has already been pointed 
out, a class which has been convinced even against its will that 
its adversary's ideal is based upon better reasons than its own 
and is inspired by loftier moral aims, will certainly lack force 
to continue the struggle ; it will have lost that faith in its own 
rights which alone confers upon resistance a moral justification. 
Persuasion, however, does not suffice, for a class, even if par- 
tially paralysed by its recognition of the fact that the right of 
the hostile class is superior to its own, woidd none the less, hyp- 
notized by its own class egoism, continue the struggle, and 
would in the end yield to the force, not of words, but of facts. 
The writer believes that all these considerations suffice to es- 
tablish as an axiom that the entrance of bourgeois elements into 
the ranks of the workers organized as a class party is determined 
mainly by psychological motives, and that it represents a process 
of spontaneous selection. It must be regarded as a logical con- 
sequence of the historical phase of development through which, 
we are now passing, but in view of the special conditions which 
induce it there is no reason to interpret it as a preliminary 
symptom of a spontaneous and general dissolution of the bour- 
geoisie. To sum up, the issue of the struggle which is proceed- 
ing between the two great classes representing conflicting eco- 
nomic interests cannot possibly be decided by the passage of 
individual or isolated molecules from one side to the other. 



Socialist leaders, considered in respect of tlieir social origin, 
may be divided into two classes, those who belong primarily to 
the proletariat, and those derived from the bourgeoisie, or rather 
from the intellectual stratum of the bourgeoisie. The lower 
middle class, that of the petty bourgeois, the minor agricultur- 
ists, independent artisans, and shopkeepers, have furnished no 
more than an insignificant contingent of socialist leaders. In 
the most favourable conditions, the representatives of this lower 
middle class follow the labour movement as sympathetic onlook- 
ers, and at times actually join its ranks. Hardly ever do they 
become numbered among its leaders. 

Of these two classes of leaders, the ex-bourgeois, although at 
the outset they were naturally opposed to socialism, prove 
themselves on the average to be animated by a more fervent 
idealism than the leaders of proletarian origin. The difference 
is readily explained on psychological grounds. In most cases the 
proletarian does not need to attain to socialism by a gradual 
evolutionary process ; he is, so to speak, born a socialist, born a 
member of the party — at least, this happens often enough, al- 
though it does not apply to all strata of the proletariat and to 
all places. In the countries where capitalist development is of 
long standing, there exists in certain working-class milieux and 
even in entire categories of workers a genuine socialist tradi- 
tion. The son inherits the class spirit of the father, and he 
doubtless from the grandfather. With them, socialism is "in 
the blood." To this it must be added that actual economic re- 
lationships (with the class struggle inseparable from these, in 
which every individual, however refractory he may be to so- 
cialist theory, is forced to participate) compel the proletarian to 
Join the labour party. Socialism, far from being in opposi- 
tion to his class sentiment, constitutes its plainest and most con- 
spicuous expression. The proletarian, the wage-earner, the en- 



rolled member of the party, is a socialist on the ground of di- 
rect personal interest. Adhesion to socialism may cause him 
grave material damage, such as the loss of his employment, and 
may even make it impossible for him to gain his bread. Yet 
his socialist views are the spontaneous outcome of his class ego- 
ism, and he endures the hardships to which they may lead all 
the more cheerfully because he is suffering for the common 
cause. He is comforted by the more or less explicit recognition 
or gratitude of his comrades. Th& action of the socialist prole- 
tarian is a class action, and in many cases it may notably favour 
the immediate interests of the individual.^ 

Very different is the case of socialists of bourgeois origin. 
Hardly any of these are born in a socialist milieu. On the con- 
trary, in their families the tradition is definitely hostile to the 
workers, or at least full of disdain for the aspirations of modern 
socialism. Among the bourgeois, just as much as among the 
proletarians, the son inherits the spirit of the father, but in this 
case it is the class spirit of the bourgeoisie. The young bour- 
geois has ''in the blood" not socialism, but the capitalist men- 
tality in one of its numerous varieties, and he inherits in addi- 
tion an intellectualism which makes him proud of his supposed 
superiority. We have further, on the one hand, to take into ac- 
count the economic conditions in which the bourgeois child is 
born and grows to maturity, and on the other the education 
which he receives at school, all of which predisposes him to feel 
nothing but aversion for the struggles of a working class pur- 
suing socialist aspirations. In his economic environment he 
learns to tremble for his wealth, to tremble when he thinks of 
the shock his class will one day have to sustain when attacked 
by the organized masses of the quatrieme Stat. Thus his class 
egoism becomes more acute, and is even transformed into an 
implacable hatred. His education, based upon official science, 
contributes to confirm and to strengthen his sentiments as a 
member of the master class. The influence which the school and 
the domestic environment exercise upon the youthful scion of 
the bourgeoisie is of such potency that even when his parents 
are themselves socialist sympathizers and on moral and intellec- 
tual grounds devoted to the cause of the workers, it most com- 
monly happens that his bourgeois instincts gain the upper hand 
over the socialist traditions of his family. "We learn from actual 

* Cf . Part IV, chap. iv. 


experience that it is very rare for the children of socialists, 
when they have received the education of intellectuals, to fol- 
low in their parents' footsteps. The cases of the children of 
Marx, Longuet, Liebknecht, and Molkenbuhr, remain altogether 
exceptional. It cannot be doubted that the rarity of such in- 
stances is due to the methods of education which usually prevail 
in a socialist family, methods which have nothing in common 
with socialism. Even when it is otherwise, when the immediate 
family environment is not opposed to the development of the 
socialist consciousness, the young man of bourgeois origin is 
strongly influenced by the milieu in which he is brought up. 
Even after he has joined the socialist party, he will retain a 
certain solidarity with the class from which he has sprung; for 
example, in his relations with the servants in his household he 
will remain always an employer, an ' ' exploiter, ' ' in the sociologi- 
cal if not in the coarser sense of the latter term. For the bour- 
geois, adhesion to socialism signifies an estrangement from his 
own class, in most cases extensive social and ideal injury, and 
often actual material loss. In the case of the petty bourgeois, 
the evolution towards socialism may occur peacefully, for by his 
intellectual and social conditions the petty bourgeois is closely 
approximated to the proletarian, and above all to the better paid 
manual worker, from whom he is in many cases separated by 
purely imaginary barriers composed of all kinds of class preju- 
dices. But the wealthier the family to which the bourgeois be- 
longs, the more strongly it is attached to its family traditions, 
the higher the social position that it occupies, the more difficult 
is it for him, and the more painful, to break with his surround- 
ings, and to adhere to the labour movement. 

For the son of a wealthy capitalist, of an official in the higher 
ranks, or for a member of the old-established landed aristocracy, 
to join the socialists is to provoke a catastrophe.^ He is free to 
give himself up to vague and harmless humanitarian dreams, 
and even in private conversation to speak of himself as a "so- 
cialist." But as soon as he displays the intention of becoming 
an active member of the socialist party, of undertaking public 
work on its behalf, of enrolling himself as an actual member of 
the "rebel" army, the deserter from the bourgeoisie is regarded 

^ Cf ., for example, the first volume of Memoiren einer Sozialistin, by 
Lily Braun, the daughter of the German general von Kretschmann (Lan- 
gen, Munich, 1909), where we find an admirable description of the con- 
ditions to which reference has been made in the text. 


by his own class as either a knave or a fool. His social prestige 
falls below zero, and so great is the hostility displayed towards 
him that he is obliged to break off all relations with his family. 
The most intimate ties are abruptly severed. His relatives turn 
their backs upon him. He has burned his boats and broken 
with the past. 

What are the motives which may lead the intellectual to de- 
sert the bourgeoisie and to adhere to the party of the workers? 
Among those who do this we may distinguish two fundamental 

There is first of all the man of science. The ends which he 
pursues are of an objective character, but to the vulgar these 
seem at first sight devoid of practical utility, and even fantasti- 
cal and extravagant. The stimulus which drives him is ideal- 
istic in this sense, that he is capable of sacrificing all other goods 
to science and its gains. In thus acting, he obeys the powerful 
impulse of his egoism, though it is an egoism ennobled. Scien- 
tific coherency is an inborn need of his nature. Psychology 
teaches us that in human beings every free exercise of faculty 
produces a sentiment of pleasure. Consequently the sacrifices 
which the socialist man of science makes for the party serve to 
increase the sum of his personal satisfaction. Notwithstanding 
all the material injuries he will suffer as a bourgeois in joining 
the socialist party, he will have gained a greater inward content 
and will have a more tranquil conscience. In some cases, too, 
his sentiments will take the form of an ambition to render signal 
services to the cause. In his case, of course, this ambition is 
very different from the grosser ambition of those who look 
merely for an increase in personal well-being — for a career, 
wealth, and the like. 

The second category consists of those who are inspired with 
an intense sentimental attachment to socialism, who burn, so to 
speak, with the sacred fire. Such a man usually becomes a so- 
cialist when he is quite young, before material considerations and 
precautions have erected a barrier in the way of obedience to 
the impulses of his sanguine and enthusiastic temperament. He 
is inspired with the ardour of the neophyte and the need for 
devoting himself to the service of his kind.^ The principal mo- 

' There are numerous Italian novels describing the conversion of the 
young man of family to the principles of modern socialism, and in these 
the conversion is always attributed to sentiments of generosity and com- 
passion. Cf. Edmondo de Amicis, Lotte civili (Nerbini, Florence, 1899), 


tives whicli animate him are a noble disdain for injustice and a 
love for the weak and the poor, a delight in self-sacrifice for the 
realization of great ideas, for these are motives which often give 
courage and love of battle to the most timid and inert charac- 
ters.* With all thiSj there is usually found in the socialist en- 
thusiast of bourgeois origin a considerable dose of optimism, a 
tendency to overestimate the significance of the moral forces of 

and especially the admirable sketch in this volume (pp. 53 et seq.) entitled 
A una Signora; G. B. Bianchi (pseudonym of the psychiatrist Pietro 
Petrazzani) in his romance of Emilian life II primo Maggio (La Poligra- 
fica, Milan, 1901); Vincenzo Vaeirca in his novel L'Apostata ("Parola del 
Socialisti," Eavenna, 1905). — In the best-known Dutch socialist novel, 
entitled BartJiold Meryan, by Baroness Cornelie Huygens (Van Kampen, 
5th ed.), the hero is a young bourgeois intellectual inspired by a lofty spirit 
of self-denial. — To the same motive has been attributed the adhesion to 
socialism comparatively late in life of the Swedish poet Gustaf af Geijer- 
stam. Under date July 11, 1910, the "Frankfurter Zeitung" writes as 
follows: "What, then, were the motives that led Geijerstam, a man of 
thoroughly conservative spirit, and proud of his rank, into the socialist 
camp? On the one hand, unquestionably there were operative the influ- 
ences of Strindberg's circle, to which Geijerstam belonged in his youth; 
but his principal reason was his tenderness of conscience. There has been 
a general awakening of the social conscience in all countries, but in Sweden 
and in the work of Geijerstam this awakening attained its climax." — The 
generous impulse of the receptive youthful mind is often extremely strong. 
It is true that sometimes the direction of this impulse becomes transferred 
to some smaller but nearer goal which has nothing in common with the orig- 
inal aim. Eead, for example, the description given in his Tageiuch (Lan- 
gen, Munich, 1907) by Otto Erich Hartleben of his own development, a de- 
scription in which he confesses himself with perfect frankness. "For a 
long period in my life I was ashamed of my natural love of pleasure. I 
was never indeed a Christian, but I sometimes believed it to be my duty 
to become a socialist, and regarded it as essential to devote my energies 
to the service of some good cause. I have put all this behind me. I have 
learned that one is one's own good cause, and I now endeavour to employ 
my energies in my own service" (p. 228). This is termed by Hartleben the 
"inner evolution towards the ultimate acquirement of a joyful faith in one- 

*"As you see, I have the physique neither of an athlete nor of a Uon. 
In the moral sphere, too, I lack the qualities of the fighter. In the bottom 
of my soul I love peace and quietness, and I should remain utterly inactive 
if it were not that the socialist faith forces me in spite of myself to take 
part in the struggles of our time — that faith which inculcates a profound 
hatred of injustice and privilege, a no less strong conviction that they 
must be abolished, and an irresistible desire to do all that we can to attain 
this end." Such are the confessions of Camillo Prampolini, one of the 
most distinguished figures of modern Italian socialism. (Cf. his Besistete 
agli Arhitrii! [Cosa avrei detto ai giurati], Libreria Gavagnani e Pagliani, 
Modena, 1900, p. 11) 


the movement, and sometimes an excessive faith in his own self- 
abnegation, with a false mode of conceiving the rhythm of evo- 
lution, the nearness of the final victory, and the ease with which 
it will be attained. The socialist faith is also in many cases 
nourished by esthetic sensibilities. Those endowed with poetical 
aptitudes and with a fervent imagination can more readily and 
intuitively grasp the extent and the depth of human suffering; 
moreover, the greater their own social distance from the imag- 
ined objects, the more are they able to give their fancies free 
rein.^ It is for this reason that among the ranks of those who 
are fighting for the emancipation of labour we find so many 
poets and imaginative writers, and so many persons of fiery, im- 
passioned, and impulsive dispositions.*' 

The question arises, which category is the more numerous, 
that of those who become socialists from reasoned conviction, or 
that of those who are guided by sentimental considerations. It 
is probable that among those who become socialists in youth 
the sentimentalists predominate,'^ whereas among those who go 
over to socialism when they have attained maturity, the change 
is usually dictated by scientific conviction. But in most cases 
mixed motives are at work. Very numerous, in fact, are the 
bourgeois who have always given a moral approval to socialism, 
who have held that it is the only solution of the social problem 
which conforms to the demands of justice, but who do not make 
their effective adhesion to the doctrine until they acquire the 
conviction (which at times seizes them quite unexpectedly) that 
the aspirations of their heart are not merely just and beautiful, 
but also realizable in practice.® Thus the socialist views of these 

^ Cf . also Ettore Ciceotti, Fsicologia del Movimento Socialista, ed. cit., pp. 
45-6 and 85. 

*A few only of the most notable of such persons, who are or who have 
been active workers on behalf of socialism, may be mentioned here: Wil- 
liam Morris, Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Jack London, George D. Herron, 
Upton Sinclair; J. B. Clement, Clovis Hugnes, A'natole France, Jules Des- 
tree; CorneHe Huygens, Hermann Gorter, Henriette Eoland-Holst; Georg 
Herwegh, Wilhekn Holzamer, Karl HenkeU, Emil Eosenow; Edmondo de 
Amicis, Mario Eapisardi, Diego Garoglio, Augelo Cabrini, G. Eomualdi, 
VirgUio Broechi, Tomaso Monicelli; Maxim Gorki; Gustav af Geijerstam, 

' Such is also the opinion of Hubert Lagardelle, as expressed in his pam- 
phlet Les Intellectuels devant le Socialisme, "Cahiers de la Quinzaine," 
Paris, 1900, p. 57. 

*"Take the case of an idealist who aims in theory at the triumph of 
good, but who through insufficient knowledge of the real state of affairs ar- 
rives at theoretical conclusions and advocates practical expedients which 


persons are a synthesis of sentiment and science. In 1894^ an 
inquiry was made as to the attitude towards socialism of the 
most distin^ished Italian artists and men of learning. They 
were asked whether their sympathy with socialist aims, their 
indifference to socialism, or their hostility to the doctrine, was 
the outcome of a concrete investigation of socialist problems, or 
whether their feelings were of a purely sentimental character. 
The majority of those who replied declared that their attitude 
towards socialism was the outcome of a psychical predisposition, 
reinforced by objective convictions.^ A similar answer might 

tend to consecrate the triumph of evil. Can we say here that he is guided 
by the suggestions of personal interest! Where does self-interest come 
in? The suggestions at work arise from errors of the intelligence. Sim- 
ilarly the increase in the number of thinkers and idealists who in critical 
periods devote themselves to the service of the revolutionary classes, may 
in part, and in the case of many of them, be due to the conscious or un- 
conscious suggestions of self-interest; but to a large extent, and in many, 
this action is determined by the influence of ideal aspirations which at one 
time they believed incapable of realization, but which now, under the 
new conditions, they regard as realizable. ... To the historian of the 
social movement, these psychological distinctions may appear of secondary 
importance; not so to the moralist" (Benedetto Croee, Materialismo storico 
ed Economia marxistica. Saggi Critici, Eemo Sandron, Milan-Palermo, 
1900, p. 57). Bernstein gives a similar analysis of the motives which 
influence the various adherents to socialism, but touches on the question 
rather lightly (E. Bernstein, Zur GeschicMe u. Theorie des Sozialisntms, 
Diimmler, Berlin, 1904, 4th ed., vol. iii, pp. 42 et seq.). 

^11 Socialismo giudicato da Letterati, Artisti e Scienziati italiani. In- 
chiesta, con Prefazione di Gustavo Macchi, Carlo Aliprandi, Milan, 1895. — 
Gustavo Macchi, who was himself at one time a member of the Interna- 
tional, enquired of twenty-one socialists belonging without exception to 
cultured circles, for what reason they had become socialists. Nine de- 
clared that they had taken this step solely on ethical grounds, many of 
them adding that their socialist convictions had been subsequently rein- 
forced by scientific studies; four stated that they had been turned towards 
socialism by the "simultaneous" influence of sentimental and scientific 
considerations; one (the novelist Giovanni Cena) said simply that he was 
himself a child of the proletariat; another (the poet Diego Garoglio) said 
that he had received the first impulse towards socialism through observing 
the life-activities of his father, who was a judge, but that he had in part 
been influenced by Christian considerations; Enrico Ferri's answer dis- 
played the influence of mixed motives ("humanitarian sentiment by pre- 
disposition, progressively reinforced by a study of the question, leading 
finally to a profound scientific conviction"); five only claimed to have 
attained to socialist convictions chiefly or exclusively upon scientific grounds. 
Among the members of this last group one, Arturo Graf, declared that 
his adhesion to socialism was solely the outcome of study and conviction, 
in conflict with various opposing conditions, and in especial with his per- 


doubtless be given by the Marxists, notwithstanding tbeir superb 
disdain for all ideology and sentimental compassion, and not- 
withstanding the materialism with which they love to dress 
their windows. In so far as they are not completely absorbed in 
party life, or rather so long as they have not been completely 
overpowered by the ties of party life, they display a strictness of 
principle which is essentially idealist.^" 

Not all those, indeed, who sympathize with socialism or have 
a rational conviction of the truth of socialist principles become 
effective members of the socialist party. Many feel a strange 
repugnance at the idea of intimate association with the unknown 
crowd, or they experience an aesthetic disgust at the thought of 
close contact with persons who are not always clean or sweet- 
smelling." Still more numerous are those held back by lazi- 
ness or by an exaggerated fondness for a quiet life, or, again, by 
the more or less justified fear that open adhesion to the party 
will react unfavourably upon their economic position. Some- 
times the impulse to join the party is given by some external 
circumstance, insignificant in itself, but sufficient to give the 
last impetus to resolution : it may be a striking instance of social 
injustice which stirs a collective emotion; it may be some per- 
sonal wrong inflicted upon the would-be socialist himself or upon 
one of those dear to him,^^ when a sudden explosion of egoism 
finishes the slow work of altruistic tendencies. In other cases 
it is a necessity of fate, or the outcome of the ill-will and stu- 
pidity of human beings, which forces the man who has been a 

sonal inclinations, with his tastes, and his mode of life; another, OUndo 
Malagodi, now editor of the ' ' Tribuna, ' ' said that towards socialism he 
was "normally sympathetic" but "pathologically indifferent"; a third, 
Giovanni Lerda, made the sound observation that those who become social- 
ists exclusively from sentimental reasons and without any scientific under- 
standing of the doctrine are undesirable adherents; Filippo Turati eluded 
the question with the remark that he had never found it possible "to 
separate sentiment from reason." 

^""Ils ont garde la fidelite au but propose, la fidelite quand meme, sans 
se soucier des difficultes du chemin a parcourir. — 'En avant! advienne que 
pourra' — disent les materialistes ayant les yeux constamment fixe sur leur 
ideal superieur. Ce n 'est plus 1 'idealisme verbal, enivrant et sterile. C 'est 
1 'idealism en action. C 'est la vie quotidienne elargie, agrandie, eclairee par 
une conception superieur e" (Charles Eappoport, La PMlosophie de I'His- 
toire comme Science de I'Evolution, Jacques, Paris, 1903, p. v), 

" The present writer has frequently heard people say : "I have every 
sympathy with socialism — if only there were not any socialists ! ' ' 

" Ettore Ciccotti, Psicologia del Movimento socialista, ed. cit., p. 47. 


secret socialist to cross the Rubicon, almost by inadvertence. 
For example, something may happen which discredits him in 
the eyes of the members of his own class, displaying to all the 
socialist ideas which he has hitherto jealously concealed. Many 
a person does not join the party of the workers until, after some 
imprudent manifestation of his own, an enemy has denounced 
him in the bourgeois press, thus placing him in a dilemma: he 
must either make a shameful retreat, at the cost of a humiliating 
retraction, or else must make public acknowledgment of the ideas 
which he has hitherto held secret.^^ Such persons become mem- 
bers of the socialist party as young women sometimes become 
mothers, without having desired it. The Russian nihilist Net- 
chajeff made the idea of unmasking these timid revolutionary- 
minded persons the basis of a scheme of revolutionary agitation. 
He contended that it was the revolutionist's duty to compromise 
all those who, whilst they shared most of his ideas, did not as 
yet share them all; in this way he would force them to break 
definitely with the enemy, and would gain them over completely 
to the "sacred cause. "^* 

It has often been asserted that the receptivity to socialist 
ideas varies in the different liberal professions. It is said that 
the speculative sciences (in the strictest sense of the term), 
such as philosophy, history, political economy, theology, and ju- 
risprudence, are so profoundly imbued with the spirit of the 
past that those engaged in their study are refractory a priori 
to the reception of all subversive ideas. In the legal profession, 
in particular, it is contended there is inculcated a love of order, 
an attachment to the thing which is, a sacred respect for form, 
a slowness of procedure, and, if you will, a certain narrowness 
of view, which are all supposed to constitute natural correctives 
to the errors inherent in democracy.^^ In a general sense, we 

""An article in a newspaper may be for you, as bourgeois, a sentence 
of death. Do you regard this as a small matter? Once compromised, you 
will find yourself quite alone ; you will suddenly become aware that no 
one will have anything more to do with you. You may be clever, and hand- 
some, talented and free-handed, cheerful and helpful; but once thoroughly 
compromised you have become a social leper; everyone who sits beside you 
in a public place, who walks with you in the street, who talks with you 
in a restaurant, will become compromised in his turn, and for this reason 
carefully avoids you" (Max Tobler, Ihr, die Ilir den Weg finden sollt!, 
*' Polls," anno ii, No. 1, p. 10). 

"James Guillaume, L' Internationale, etc., ed. cit., vol. ii, p. 62. 

^Eoseher, PoUtik, ed. cit., p. 385. 


are told, the deductive and abstract sciences are authoritative 
and aristocratic in spirit, and those who pursue these paths of 
study incline to reactionary and doctrinaire views. Those, on 
the other hand, engaged in the study of the experimental and 
inductive sciences are led to employ their faculties of observa- 
tion, which conduct them gradually to wider and wider generali- 
zations, and they must thus be easy to win over to the cause of 
progress.^^ The doctor, above all, whose profession is a con- 
tinued struggle against human misery, must carry in his mind 
the germs of the socialist eonception.^^ 

An analysis of the professions of the intellectuals belonging 
to the various socialist parties does not confirm this theory. It 
is in Italy and France alone that we find a considerable number 
of medical men in the socialist ranks, and even here they are 
less numerous than the devotees of pure science, and conspicu- 
ously less numerous than the lawyers.^^ In Germany, the rela- 
tions between the socialist workers and those medical men who 
are least well-to-do (the doctors of the insurance-bureaux) are 
far from cordial. To sum up, it may be said in general terms 
that the doctor's attitude towards socialism is colder and more 
hostile than that of the abstract philosopher or the barrister. 
One reason for this may perhaps be that among doctors, more 
than among other intellectuals, there prevails, and has prevailed 
for the past forty years, a materialistically conceived and rigidly 
held Darwinism and Haeckelism. A supplementary cause may be 
found in the cynicism, often pushed to an ego centric extreme, 
by which many doctors are affected, as a natural reaction against 
the smell of the mortuary which attends their life-work and as 

^^ Michael Bakunin, Les Ejidormeiirs, Imp. Jean Alemane, Paris, 1900, 
p. 11. — Ettore Ciccotti, Psichol. del Mov. Soc, ed. cit., p. 51. 

" Ciccotti, Hid. p. 52. 

^^ In the parliamentary socialist group in Germany and Holland, although 
there "n-ill be found a fair number of lavsyers, there are no medical men 
nor any men engaged in the study of natural science. The Italian socialist 
group, indeed, contained in 1904 four medical men, but at the same time 
there were seventeen lawyers; moreover, among the four doctors, two were 
engaged in university teaching, and were thus theorists rather than prac- 
titioners. (Cf. detailed examination by Michels, Proletariato e Borghesia, 
ed. cit., pp. 90 et seq.) The French parliamentary group of the Socialistes 
Unifies contained in the year 1910: manual workers and employees (for the 
most part employees of trade unions), 31; small farmers, 7; sehoolmast«rs, 
3; manufacturers and shopkeepers, 5; university professors, 8; joui-nalists, 
7; engineers, 1; chemists, 1; barristers, 7; doctors and pharmacists, 6 
C^L'Humamte/' June 1, 1910). 


an outcome of their experience of the wickedness^ the stupidity, 
and the frailty of the human material with which their prac- 
tice brings them in contact. 

In certain Protestant countries, in Holland, Switzerland, 
Great Britain, and America, we find a considerable number of 
the clergy among the socialists (but this is not the case in Ger- 
many, where the state is vigilant and powerful whilst the Luther- 
an Church is strict and intolerant). These ministers, we are 
told, make their adhesion to socialism on account of an elevated 
sense of duty towards their neighbour,^'' but perhaps in addition 
there is operative the need which is no less strong in the preacher 
than in the popular orator, to be listened to, followed, and ad- 
mired by the crowd — it is of little importance whether by be- 
lievers or unbelievers. 

Here some reference may be made to the abundance of Jews 
among the leaders of the socialist and revolutionary parties. 
Specific racial qualities make the Jew a born leader of the 
masses, a born organizer and propagandist. First among these 
qualities comes that sectarian fanaticism which, like an infec- 
tion, can be communicated to the masses with astonishing fre- 
quency; next we have an invincible self-confidence (which in 
Jewish racial history is most characteristically displayed in the 
lives of the prophets) ; there are remarkable oratorical and dia- 
lectical aptitudes, a still more remarkable ambition^ an irresist- 
ible need to figure in the lime-light, and last but not least an 
' almost unlimited power of adaptation. There has not during the 
last seventy -five years been any new current agitating the popu- 
lar political life in which Jews have failed to play an eminent 
part. Not a few such movements must be distinctively consid- 
ered as their work. Jews organize the revolution; and Jews 
organize the resistance of the state and of society against the 
subversive forces. Socialism and conservatism have been forged 
by Jewish hands and are impregnated with the Jewish spirit. 
In Germany, for example, we see on the one side Marx and Las- 
salle fanning the flames of revolution, and on the other, after 
1848, Julius Stahl working as the brilliant theorist of the feudal 
reaction. In England, the Jew Disraeli reorganized the forces 
of the conservative party. We find Jews at the head of the 
movements which marshal against one another the nationalities 

" Cf . the interesting study, detailed and well-furnished with evidence by 
Karl Vorlander, Sosialdemolcratische Pfarrer, "Archiv fur Sozialwiss., " 
vol. XXX, fase. 2. 


animated by a reciprocal hate. At Venice, it was Daniel Manin 
who raised the standard of liberty against the Austrians. Dur- 
ing the Franco-German war, the work of national defence was 
organized by Gambetta. In England, Disraeli was the inventor 
of the watchword "the integrity of the British Empire," whilst 
in Germany, the Jews Eduard Simson, Bamberger, and Lasker, 
were the leading champions of that nationalist liberalism which 
played so important a part in the foundation of the empire. In 
Austria, Jews constitute the advance-guard of almost all the 
strongly nationalist parties. Among the German Bohemians, 
the Italian irredentists, the Polish nationalists^ and in especial 
among the Magyars, the most fanatical are persons of Jewish 
race. The Jews, in fact, are capable of organizing every kind of 
movement ; even among the leaders of antisemitism there are 
not wanting persons of Jewish descent. 

The adaptability and the intellectual vivacity of the Jews 
do not, however, suffice to explain the quantitative and quali- 
tative predominance of persons of Hebrew race in the party of 
the workers. In Germany, above all, the influence of Jews has 
been conspicuous in the labour movement. The two first great 
leaders, Ferdinand Lassalle and Karl Marx, were Jews, and so 
was their contemporary Moses Hess. The first distinguished pol- 
itician of the old school to join the socialists, Johann Jacoby, 
was a Jew. Such also was Karl Hochberg, the idealist, son of a 
rich merchant in Frankfort-on-the-Main, founder of the first 
socialist review published in the German language. Paul Singer, 
who was almost invariably chairman of the German socialist 
congresses, was a Jew. Among the eighty-one socialist deputies 
sent to the Reichstag in the penultimate general election, there 
were nine Jews, and this figure is an extremely high one when 
compared with the percentage of Jews among the population of 
Germany, and also with the total number of Jewish workers and 
with the number of Jewish members of the socialist party. Four 
of the nine were still orthodox Jews (Stadthagen, Singer, Wurm, 
and Haase). In various capacities, Jews have rendered ines- 
timable services to the party: Eduard Bernstein, Heinrich 
Braun, Jakob Stern, Simon Katzenstein, and Bruno Schonlank, 
as theorists ; Gradnauer, Eisner, and Josef Bloch, the editor of 
the " Sozialistische Monatshefte, " as journalists; Hugo Heunann, 
in the field of municipal politics ; Leo Arons, as a specialist in 
electoral affairs; Ludwig Frank, as organizer of the socialist 
youth. In Austria, the predominance of Jews in the socialist 


movement is conspicuous; it suffices to mention the names of 
Victor Adler, Ellenbogen, Fritz Austerlitz, Max Adler, F. Hertz, 
Therese Schlesinger-Eckstein, Dr. Diamand, Adolf Braun, etc. 
In America we have Morris Hillquit, A. M. Simons, M. Unter- 
mann. In Holland, we have Henri Polak, the leader of the dia- 
mond workers, D. J. "Wijnkoop, the independent Marxist, and 
M. Mendels. In Italy, Elia Musatti, Claudio Treves, G. E. 
Modigliani, Riccardo and Adolfo Momigliano, R. L. Foa, and 
the man of science Cesare Lombroso. Even in France, although 
here the role of the Jews is less conspicuous, we may mention 
the names of Paul Louis, Edgard Milhaud, and the shareholders 
of "rHumanite" in 1904. The first congress of the Parti 
Ouvrier in 1879 was rendered possible by the liberal financial 
support of Isaac Adolphe Cremieux, who had been governor of 
Algeria under Gambetta.^'' 

In many countries, in Russia and Roumania for instance, but 
above all in Hungary and in Poland, the leadership of the work- 
ing-class parties (the Russian Revolutionary Party excepted) is 
almost exclusively in the hands of Jews, as is plainly apparent 
from an examination of the personality of the delegates to the 
international congresses. Besides, there is a great spontaneous 
export from Russia of Jewish proletarian leaders to foreign 
socialist parties: Rosa Luxemburg and Dr. Israel Helphant 
(Parvus) have gone to Germany; Charles Rappoport to France; 
Anna Kulishoff and Angelica Balabanoff to Italy; the brothers 
Reichesberg to Switzerland; M. Beer and Theodor Rothstein to 
England. Finally, to bring this long enumeration to a close, it 
may be mentioned that among the most distinguished leaders of 
the German anarchists there are many Jews, such as Gustav 
Landauer, Siegfried Nacht, Pierre Ramus, Senna Hoj (Johannes 

The origin of this predominant position (which, be it noted, 
must in no sense be regarded as an indication of ' ' Judaization, ' ' 
as a symptom of dependence of the party upon the money of 
Jewish capitalist comrades) is to be found, as far at least as 
concerns Germany and the countries of eastern Europe, in the 
peculiar position which the Jews have occupied and in many re- 
spects still occupy. The legal emancipation of the Jews has not 
here been followed by their social and moral emancipation. In 
large sections of the German people a hatred of the Jews and 

'"'Mermeix, La France Socialiste, ed. eit., p. 69. 


the spirit of the Jew-baiter still prevail, and contempt for the 
Jews is a permanent feeling. The Jew's chances in public life 
are injuriously affected ; he is practically excluded from the ju- 
dicial profession, from a military career, and from official em- 
plojonent. Yet everywhere in the Jewish race there continues 
to prevail an ancient and justified spirit of rebellion against the 
■wrongs from which it suffers, and this sentiment, idealist in its 
origin, animating the members of an impassioned race, becomes 
in them more easily than in those of Germanic blood transformed 
into a disinterested abhorrence of injustice in general and ele- 
vated into a revolutionary impulse towards a grandly conceived 

Even when they are rich, the Jews constitute, at least in east- 
ern Europe, a category of persons who are excluded from the 
social advantages which the prevailing political, economic, and 
intellectual system ensures for the corresponding portion of the 
Gentile population. Society, in the narrower sense of the term, 
is distrustful of them, and public opinion is unfavourable to 
them. Besides the sentiment which is naturally aroused in their 
minds by this injustice, they are often affected by that cosmo- 
politan tendency which has been highly developed in the Jews 
by the historical experiences of the race, and these combine to 
push them into the arms of the working-class party. It is owing 
to these tendencies that the Jews, guided in part by reason and 
in part by sentimental considerations, so readily disregard the 
barriers which the bourgeoisie endeavours to erect against the 
rising flood of the revolution by the accusation that its advocates 
are des sans patrie. 

For all these reasons, the Jewish intelligence is apt to find a 
shorter road to socialism than the Gentile, but this does not 
diminish the obligations of the socialist party to the Jewish in- 
tellectuals. Only to the intellectuals, indeed, for the Jews who 

^ Liebkneeht declared in a speech : ' ' Slavery does not merely demoralize ; 
it illuminates the mind, elevates the strong, creates idealists and rebels. 
Thus we find that in the more powerful and nobler natures among the Jews 
a sense of freedom and justice has been inspired by their unworthy situa- 
tion and a revolutionary spirit has been cultivated. The result is that 
there is proportionately a much larger amount of idealism among Jews than 
among non-Jews" (Wilhelm Liebkneeht, Ueber den Kolner Parteitag mit 
hesonderer Berucksichtigung der GewerTcschaftsheiuegung, Buchdruckerei 
Volkswacht, Bielefeld, 3893, p. 33). — Eegarding the revolutionary-idealist- 
fanatical tendencies of Judaism, see also the brilliant analysis by Guglielmo 
Perrero in L'Europa giovane, Treves, Milan, 1897, pp. 358 et seq. 


belong to the wealthy trading and manufacturing classes and 
also the members of the Jewish petty bourgeoisie, whilst often 
voting socialist in the elections, steadily refuse to join the social- 
ist party. Here the interests of class prevail over those of race. 
It is very different with the Jewish intellectuals, and a statisti- 
cal enquiry would certainly show that not less than 2 to 3 per 
cent, of these are members of the socialist party. If the socialist 
party has always manifested an unhesitating resistance to anti- 
semite sentiment, this is due not merely to the theoretical social- 
ist aversion for all "nationalism" and all racial prejudices, but 
also to the consciousness of all that the party owes to the Jewish 

"Antisemite socialism" made its first appearance about 1870. 
"^Eugen Diihring, at that time Frivatdozent at the University of 
Berlin, inaugurated a crusade in favour of a "German" social- 
ism as opposed to the "Jewish" socialism of Marx and his col- 
laborators.^^ This movement was inspired by patriotic motives, 
for Diihring held that the victory of Marxian socialism could 
not fail to result in the complete subordination of the people to 
the state, to the advantage of the prominent Jews and their 
acolytes.^^ Towards 1875, Diihring became the centre of a small 
group of Berlinese socialists of which Johann Most and the Jew 
Eduard Bernstein were members. The influence of this group, 
however, did not survive the great polemic which Diihring had 
to sustain with Friedrich Engels, the spiritual brother of ' ' Marx 
the Jew."^* Diihring 's influence upon the socialist masses in 
fact declined in proportion as his antisemitism became accentu- 
ated, and towards 1878 it was extinct. In 1894 another attempt 
was made to give socialism an antisemite tendency. This was 
the work of Eichard Calwer, another socialist of strongly na- 
tionalist views, at that time on the staff of the * ' Braunschweiger 
Volksf reund. " "For every good Jewish writer," he declared, 
"there will be found at least half a dozen who are altogether 
worthless, but who possess an extraordinary power of self-asser- 
tion and an inexhaustible flow of words, but no real understand- 
ing of socialism." ^^ Calwer 's campaign had, however, no better 

''''Cf. Eugen Diihring, KriUsche GescMchte der NationdlosTconomie u. der 
Sosialismus, Th. Grieben, Berlin, 1871, pp. 589 et seq. 

*' Eugen Diihring, Sache, Leben u. Feinde, Carlsruhe, 1882, p. 207. 

^* Cf . Engels ' work, Herrn Eugen Diihrings Umwalsung der Wissenschaftp 
first published in 1877 in the Leipzig "Vorwarts. " 

*^R, Calwer, Das Kommunistische Manifest, ed. cit., p. 41. 


success than that of Duhring. A year before, when petty bour- 
geois antisemitism was spreading through the country as an 
anti-capitalist movement which was forming itself into a politi- 
cal party and making victims everywhere, the Cologne congress 
(October 1893) took up a definite position towards this new po- 
litical movement. Bebel's report (which in antisemite circles 
had been anticipated with satisfaction), although far from ex- 
haustive, was inspired throughout by a sentiment friendly to- 
wards the Jews. Bebel said : * ' The Jewish student is as a rule 
industrious during the greater part of his university career, 
whereas the 'Germanic' student most commonly spends his time 
in the drinking-bars and restaurants, in the fencing-schools, or 
in other places which I will not here more particularly specify 
(laughter)." ^^ "Wilhelm Liebknecht, in his well-known speech 
at Bielefeld,^''' notably reinforced the impression hostile to anti- 
Semitism produced by the congress. Since that time (if we ex- 
cept certain observations made at the Liibeck congress in 1901 by 
the barrister "Wolfgang Heine in a polemic against Parvus and 
Eosa Luxemburg 2® — remarks that were maladroit rather than 
expressions of principle, and at the worst foolish reminiscences 
of a youth passed as a leader in the Verein deutscJier Studenten) 
the German socialists have remained immune to the virus of 
race hatred, and have shown themselves quite unconcerned when 
ignorant opponents have endeavoured to arouse popular preju- 
dice against them by speaking of them as a party of ' ' Jews and 
their satellites. ' ' ^^ 

We may now add certain observations upon the frequent ad- 
hesion to socialism of members of the plutocracy, an adhesion 
which at first sight seems so strange. Certain persons of a gentle 
and charitable disposition, abundantly furnished with everything 
that can satisfy their desires, are sometimes inspired by the 
need of undertaking propagandist activities. They wish, for 
example, to make their neighbours share in the well-being which 
they themselves enjoy. These are the rich philanthropists. In 
most cases their conduct is the outcome of hypersensitiveness or 

^Frotolioll, p. 234. 

" Quoted above, p. 261. 

^FrotolcoU, p. 195. 

*'At election times the German antisemites make it a regular practice 
to exploit the barbarous race-prejudices with which the common people 
are still animated, endeavouring in this way to render suspect as a Jew, 
or at least as a protege of the Jews, every socialist candidate whose name 
might suggest a Jewish origin, such as David, or even Auer. 


sentimentalism ; they cannot endure tlie sufferings of others, not 
so much because they experience a genuine pity for the sufferers, 
but because the sight of pain arouses pain in themselves and 
shocks their aesthetic sense. They thus resemble the majority of 
human beings, who cannot bear to see pigeons slaughtered but 
whose sentiments in this respect do not impair their relish for a 

In the sick brains of certain persons whose wealth is exceeded 
only by their love of paradox, there has originated the fantastic 
belief that in view of the imminence of the revolution they can 
preserve their fortunes from the confiscatory fury of the revolu- 
tionists only by making profession of the socialist faith, and by 
thus gaining the powerful and useful friendship of its leaders. 
It is this ingenuous belief which has thrown them into the arms 
of the socialists. Others, again, among the rich, hasten to enrol 
themselves as members of the socialist party^, in the dread lest 
their lives should be threatened through the exasperation of the 
poor.^^ More frequently, however, as has been well shown by 
Bernard Shaw, the rich man is drawn towards socialism because 
he finds the greatest possible difficulty in procuring for himself 
any new pleasures. He begins to feel a disgust for the bourgeois 
world, and in the end this may stifle his class consciousness^ or 
at least may suppress the instinct which has hitherto led him to 
fight for self-preservation against the proletariat.^^ 

It is a very striking phenomenon how large is the percentage 
of Jewish rentiers who become members of the socialist party.^^ 
In part this may be due to the racial characteristics of the Jew 
to which reference has already been made. In part, however, it 
is the outcome of the psychological peculiarities of the wealthy 
man afflicted with satiety. In certain cases, again, the strongly 
developed love of acquisition characteristic of the Jews affords 
the explanation, where the possibility has been recognized of 
making a clever investment of capital even in working-class un- 

^^ " O riches, une solidarite de celeste origine vous enchalne a leur misere 
[la misere des proletaires] par la peur, et voua lie par votre interet meme 
a leur delivrance future" (Louis Blanc, Organisation du Travail, ed. eit., 
p. 25). 

^^ Bernard Shaw, Socialism for Millionaires, Fabian Society, London, 

^^ This fact has been noted by various writers, among others by G. Sorel, 
Illusions du Progres, ed cit., pp. 206 et seq., and Domela Nieuwenhuis, 
Van Christen, etc., ed. cit., p. 322. 


It may, however, be said without fear of error that the great 
majority of young bourgeois who come over to socialism do so, to 
quote an expression used by Felice Momigliano, in perfect sin- 
cerity and inspired by ardent goodwill. They seek neither pop- 
ular approbation, nor wealth, nor distinctions, nor well-paid po- 
sitions. They think merely that a man must set himself right 
with his own conscience and must affirm his faith in action.^^ 

These men, again, may be classed in two distinct categories. 
We have, on the one hand, the loving apostles of wide sympa- 
thies, who wish to embrace the whole of humanity in their ideal. 
On the other hand we have the zealots, fierce, rigid, austere, and 

But among the socialists of bourgeois origin we find other and 
less agreeable elements. Above all there are those who make a 
profession of discontent, the neurasthenics and the mauvais cou- 
ch eurs. Yet more numerous are the malcontents from personal 
motives, the charlatans, and the ambitious. Many hate the au- 
thority of the state because it is inaccessible to them.^^ It is the 
old story of the fox and the grapes. They are animated by jeal- 
ousy, by the unassuaged thirst for power ; their feelings resemble 
those of the younger sons of great families who are inspired with 
hatred and envy towards their richer and more fortunate broth- 
ers. They are animated by a pride which makes them prefer 
the position of chief in proletarian Gaul to that of subordinate 
in aristocratic Rome. 

There are j^et other types somewhat similar to those just 
enumerated. First of all, there are the eccentrics. It seems 
natural that those whose position is low should attempt to 
storm the heights. But there are some whose position is lofty 
and who yet experience an irresistible need to descend from 
the heights, where they feel that their movements are re- 
stricted, and who believe that by descending they will gain 
greater liberty. They seek ''sincerity"; they endeavour to dis- 

^ Momigliano, in an article which appeared in the "Eagione" of Eome, 
reprinted in " Ccenobium, " anno iv, fasc. i, p. 139. 

^* " Le mepris et les persecutions ne les touchent pas, ou ne font que les 
exciter d'avantage. Interet personnel, famille, tout est sacrifie. L 'instinct 
de la conservation lui-meme est annulle chez eux, au point que la seule 
recompense qu'ils solieitent souvent est de devenir des martyrs" (Gustave 
le Bon, PsycJiologie des Foules, ed. eit., p. 106). 

^Cf. Jules Destree, Bevolution verhale et BSvolution pratique, ''Le 
Peuple," Brussels, 1902, p. 51; also Giorgio Arcoleo, Forme vecchie, Idee 
nuove, Laterza, Bari, 1909, p. 19'6. 


cover ''the people" of whom they have an ideal in their minds; 
they are idealists to the verge of lunacy. 

There may be added all those disillusioned and dissatisfied 
persons who have not succeeded in gaining the attention of the 
bourgeoisie to an extent proportionate to their own conception of 
their genius. Such persons throw themselves on the neck of the 
proletariat,^^ in most cases with the vague and instinctive hope 
of attaining a speedier success in view of the deficient culture of 
the working classes, of gaining a place in the limelight and play- 
ing a leading part. They are visionaries, geniuses misunder- 
stood, apostates of all kinds, literary bohemians, the unrecognized 
inventors of various social panaceas, rates, rapins, cabotins, 
quack-salvers at the fair, clowns — all persons who are not think- 
ing of educating the masses but of cultivating their own egos. 

The numerical increase of the party, which is associated with 
an increasing prestige (in the popular esteem, at least, if not in 
the ofQcial world) , exercises a great force of attraction. In such 
countries as Germany, above all, where the gregarious spirit is 
highly developed, small parties are condemned to a stinted and 
rickety existence.^'^ But numerous bourgeois believe that they 
will "find in the great socialist party what they have not been 
iable to find in the bourgeois parties," a suitable platform for 
political activity upon a vast scale.^® For this reason, and above 
all when the party passes from opposition to governmental col- 
laboration,^^ there results a great increase in the number of those 
who regard the party as a mere means to their own ends, as a 
pedestal from whose elevation they can better satisfy their ambi- 
tion and their vanity, those who regard success not as a goal to 
be attained for the good of the cause, or as the reward for ardu- 
ous service in pursuit of ideal aims, but one coveted on its own 
account for the enlargement of their own personalities. As Ar- 
coleo has well expressed it, we dread the triumph of such per- 
sons as if it were the unchaining of hungry wild beasts, but on 
closer examination we discover that after all they are no more 
than greedy molluscs, harmless on the whole.^° These consider- 

^Cf. Giuseppe Prezzolini La Teoria sindacalista, ed. cit., p. 90. 

^'Cf. letter published by Fr. Naumann apropos of the dissolution of the 
Nationalsozialer Verein after the elections of 1904. 

^Au^st Bebel, Ein Nachwori sur Viseprasidentenfrage u. Verwandtem, 
loe. cit., "Neue Zeit," 1903 (Separatabzug), pp. 20, 21. 

^^Cf. also the considerations to which reference has been made on pp. 

*'G. Arcoleo, Forme FeccJiie, Idee Nuove, ed. cit., p. 80. 


ations apply to petty affairs as well as to great ones. "WTienevef 
the party of the workers founds a cooperative society or a peo- 
ple's bank which offers to intellectuals an assured subsistence 
and an influential position, there flock to the scene numerous 
professional socialists who are equally devoid of true socialist 
knowledge and genuine socialist sentiment. In democracy as 
elsewhere success signifies the death of idealism. 



The social changes which organization produces among the 
proletarian elements, and the alterations which are effected in 
the proletarian movement through the influx of those new influ- 
ences which the organization attracts within its orbit, may be 
summed up in the comprehensive customary term of the emhour- 
geoisement of working-class parties. This embourgeoisement is 
the outcome of three very different orders of phenomena: (1) 
the adhesion of petty bourgeois to the proletarian parties; (2) 
labour organization as the creator of new petty bourgeois strata ; 
(3) capitalist defence as the creator of new petty bourgeois 

1. The Adhesion of Petty Bourgeois to the Proletarian Parties. 

For motives predominantly electoral, the party of the workers 
seeks support from the petty bourgeois elements of society, and 
this gives rise to more or less extensive reactions upon the party 
itself. The labour party becomes the party of the ' ' people. ' ' Its 
appeals are no longer addressed simply to the manual workers, 
but to ''all producers," to the "entire working population," 
these phrases being applied to all the classes and all the strata 
of society except the idlers who live upon the income from in- 
vestments.^ Both the friends and the enemies of the socialist 
party have frequently pointed out that the petty bourgeois 
members tend more and more to predominate over the manual 
workers. During the struggles which occurred during the early 
part of 1890 in the German socialist party against the so-called 
"youths," the assertion that during recent years a complete 
transposition of power had occurred within the party aroused a 
veritable tempest. On one side it was maintained that the prole- 
tarian elements were to an increasing extent being thrust into 

1 Cf . p. 16. 


the background by the petty bourgeois. The other faction re- 
pudiated this accusation as a "calumny." One of the best es- 
tablished generalizations which we obtain from the study of his- 
tory is this, that political parties, even when they are the advo- 
cates of moral and social ideas of profound import, find it very 
difficult to tolerate the utterance of inconvenient truths. We 
have seen that the most unprejudiced enquiries are apt to be 
regarded as the outcome of a vicious tendency to fault-finding. 
The truth is, however, that an objective and searching discussion 
of the question leads us to recognize the wrongheadedness at once 
of those who are content flatly to deny the embourgeoisement of 
the socialist party and also of those who are content to sing the 
praises of the great socialist petty bourgeois party. Neither 
view is sound. The processes at work are too complex for solu- 
tion by easy phrase-making. 

It may sometimes happen (although statistical proof of this is 
lacking) that in South Germany in certain socialist branches, 
and still more in certain party congresses, the petty bourgeoisie, 
though not numerically predominant, can yet exercise a pre- 
ponderant influence. It may even be admitted that under cer- 
tain conditions the strength of the petty bourgeois elements and 
the respect which is paid to them may at times compromise the 
proletarian essence of the party. Even so rigid a Marxist as 
Karl Kautsky is of opinion that the attitude of socialists to- 
wards distributive cooperative societies must depend mainly 
upon their attitude towards the minor distributive trade in gen- 
eral, so that, "on political grounds," socialists must oppose the 
foundation of cooperative societies wherever, as often happens, 
small traders offer a favourable recruiting-ground for socialism.^ 

"Wherever it has been possible to analyse the composition of 
the socialist party, and to ascertain the classes and the profes- 
sions of its adherents, it has generally been found that the bour- 
geois and petty bourgeois elements, although well represented, 
are far from being numerically preponderant. The official' statis- 
tics of the Italian socialist party present the following figures : — 
Industrial workers, 42.27%; agricultural labourers, 14.99%; 
peasant proprietors, 6.1% ; independent artisans, 14.92% ; em- 
ployees, 3.3% ; property owners, 4.89% ; students and members 
of the liberal professions, 3.8%. ^ As regards the German social- 

^Karl Kautsky, Ber Parteitag von Hannover, "Neue Zeit," anno xviii, 
No. 1. 
^Michels, Proletariato e BorgJiesia, etc., ed. cit., p. 136. 


ist party, the writer has shown elsewhere* that in all the 
branches the proportion of proletarians is yet greater than in 
Italy, ranging from 77.4% to 94.7%. It may even be said, with 
Blank, that if there is a party in which the proletarian element 
predominates, it is the German socialist party — ^not indeed in re- 
spect of its voting strength,^ but pre-eminently in respect of its 
inscribed membership. It is this social homogeneity which ren- 
ders the socialist party so great an electoral force, giving to it a 
cohesion unknown to the other political parties, and especially 
to the other parties of the left. German liberalism has always 
been (at any rate since the unification of the empire) a multi- 
coloured admixture of classes, united not so much by economic 
needs as by common ideal aims. Socialism, on the other hand, 
derives its human materials from the only class which presents 
those economic, social, and numerical conditions requisite to fur- 
nish the greatest possible vigour for the struggle to overthrow 
the old world and to instal a new one in its place. Blind indeed 
must be he who fails to recognize that the spring which feeds 
the socialist party in Germany, a spring which shows no signs 
of running dry, is the proletariat, the class of wage-labourers. 

We must therefore accept with all reserve the statements of 
those anarchizing socialists and bourgeois radicals who accuse 
the socialist party of ''embourgeoisement" because it contains a 
certain number of small manufacturers and small traders. The 
embourgeoisement of the party is an unquestionable fact, but its 
causes will be found in a process very different from the entry 
into the organizations of the fighting proletariat of a few hun- 
dred members of the middle class. The chief of these causes is 
the metamorphosis which takes place in the leaders of working- 
class origin, with the resulting embourgeoisement of the whole 
atmosphere in which the political activities of the party are 
carried on.^ 

*Michels, Die deuische SozialdemoTcratie. Parteimitgliedschaft u. soziale 
Zusammensetsung, "Archiv f. Sozialwiss., " vol, xxiii, pp. 471-559. 

^E. Blank, Die sociale Zusammensetsung der sosialdemokratischen Wah- 
lerschaft DeutscMands, "Archiv f. Sozialwiss., " vol. xx, fasc. 3; but the 
author is wrong in drawing the conclusion (p. 535) "that the German 
social democracy is not a class party in respect of composition." He 
should have said, "In respect of the composition of the socialist elec- 
torate. ' ' 

^Parvus writes: "There is a confusion between two distinct things: the 
petty bourgeois existences which are created by the party movement, and 
the entrance of petty bourgeois elements into the party. These should 


2. Labour Organization as the Creator of New Petty Bourgeois 


The class struggle, through, the action of the organs whereby 
it is carried out, induces modifications and social metamorphoses 
in the party which has come into existence to organize and con- 
trol the struggle. Certain groups of individuals, numerically 
insignificant but qualitatively of great importance, are with- 
drawn from the proletarian class and raised to bourgeois dignity. 

Where, as in Italy, the party of the workers contains a con- 
siderable proportion of bourgeois, most of the posts which the 
party has at its disposal are in the hands of intellectuals. In 
England, on the other hand, and still more in Germany, it is 
otherwise, for here the demand on the part of the socialist move- 
ment for employees is met chiefly by a supply of persons from 
the rank and file. In these countries the party leadership is 
mainly in the hands of the workers, as is shown by the follow- 
ing table : — 


By Okigin. By Peofession. 

I. Intellectuals and Bourgeois. . 13 I. Professional men 17 

II. Petty Bourgeois 15 II. Independent means 2 

< — ! Manufacturers 1 

Publishers 2 

Bourgeois 5 

III. Proletarians: III. Petty Bourgeois: 

Textile 3 Innkeepers 6 

Tobacco 8 Independent artisans and 

Printing 7 working employers .... 6 

Tailoring 3 Small shopkeepers 3 

Glass-blowing 2 Small manufacturers 5 

Masonry 1 Owners of printing works. 4 

Lithography 1 — ' 

Basket-work 1 Petty lourgeois 24 

Glove-makiag 1 

be separately considered ' ' (Parvus, Die Gewerkschaften und die Sosialdemo- 
hratie Kritischer BericM iiber die Lager u. die Aufgaben der deutschen 
Arbeiterbewegung, "Sachs. Arbeiterzeitung, " Dresden, 1896, 2nd ed., p. 


III. Proletarians (continued) : 

Saddlery 1 

Stone-cutting 1 

Turning 1 

Carpet-weaving 1 

Bootmaking 1 

Wood-working 10 IV. Employees in the labour 

Bookbinding 1 movement 35 

Mining 2 — 

Metallurgy 6 

Brush-making 1 

Pottery 1 

Manual worlcers 53 

Bt Origin. 


13 intellectuals and bour- 
geois = 16.05 

15 petty bourgeois = 18.52 

54 proletarians (sMlled 

worlcers) = 65.43 

By Profession. 

17 professional men. 

5 bourgeois 

24 petty bourgeois. . 
35 employees 

= 20.99 
— 6.17 
= 29.63 
= 43.21 

Consequently an entry into the party hierarchy becomes an 
aim of proletarian ambition. 

An ex-member of the German socialist party who some years 
ago, having entered the service of one of the bourgeois parties, 
amused himself by caricaturing his former comrades, declared 
that the whole party organization with all its various degrees of 
propagandist activity was ''cut upon the military model," and 
that the members were ' ' promoted by seniority. ' ' '^ There is at 
least this much truth in Abel's assertion, that to every member 
of the party the possibility of gradual advance remains open, 
and that each may hope, should circumstances prove exception- 
ally favourable, to scale the olympian heights of a seat in the 

Proletarian leaders of the socialist parties and of the trade 
unions are an indirect product of the great industry. At the 
dawn of the capitalist era certain workers, more intelligent and 
more ambitious than their fellows, succeeded^ through indefat- 
igable exertions and thanks to favourable circumstances, in rais- 
ing themselves to the employing class. To-day, however, in view 
of the concentration of enterprise and wealth and of the high 
cost of production, such a transformation can be observed only in 

Abel, quoted by "Vorwarts," August 5, 1904. 


certain parts of Nortli and SoutK America (wliich explains, it 
may be mentioned in passing, the insignificant development of 
socialism in the New World). As far as Europe is concerned, 
where there is no longer any virgin soil to exploit, the "self- 
made man" has become a prehistoric figure. Thus it is natural 
that enlightened workmen should seek some compensation for 
the lost paradise of their dreams. Numerous are to-day the 
workers whose energies and aptitudes are not fully utilized in 
the narrow circle of their professional occupations, often utterly 
uninteresting and demanding purely mechanical labour.® It is 
chiefly in the modern labour movement that such men now seek 
and obtain the opportunity of improving their situation, an op- 
portunity which industry no longer offers. The movement rep- 
resents for them a new and loftier mode of life, and offers at 
the same time a new branch of employment, with a chance, which 
continually increases as the organization grows, that they will 
be able to secure a rise in the social scale. There can be no doubt 
that the socialist party, with its posts of honour, which are al- 
most always salaried, exercises a potent stimulus upon active- 
minded youths of the working class from the very outset of their 
adhesion to its ranks. Those who are keen in political matters, 
and also those among the workers who possess talent as writers 
or speakers, cannot fail to experience the magnetic influence of a 
party which offers so rich a field for the use and development of 
their talents. Consequently we must accept as a logical truth 
what was pointed out by Guglielmo Ferrero, that whilst the ad- 
hesion of anyone of proletarian origin to the socialist party al- 
ways presupposes a certain minimum of special aptitudes and 
favourable circumstances, yet such adhesion must be considered 
desirable and advantageous, not only upon ideal grounds and 
from motives of class egoism, but also for speculative reasons of 
personal egoism. For an intelligent German workman there is 
hardly any other way which offers him such rapid opportunities 
of "improving his condition" as service in the socialist army.^ 
One of the first persons to recognize the bearing of these possi- 
bilities, and to utilize them, with considerable partisan exag- 
geration, for his own peculiar political ends, was Prince Bis- 
marck. During the violent struggle between the government and 

^Heinrieli Herkner, Vie Arheiterfrage, ed. eit., p. 186; as regards Italy, 
'Angelo Mosso, Vita moderna degli Italiani, Treves, Milan, 1906, pp. 249, 

^Guglielmo Ferrero, L'Europa giovane, ed. cit., pp. 72 et seq. 


the socialist party he declared: "The position of socialist agi- 
tator has to-day become a regular industry, just like any other. 
A man becomes an agitator or a popular orator as in former 
days he became a smith or a carpenter. One who adopts this 
new occupation is often much better off than if he had kept at 
his old work, gaining a more agreeable and freer life, one which 
in certain circles brings him more respect. ' ' ^° The allusion to 
the agreeable and free life of the socialist agitator recalls a 
phrase used by William II, who, apropos of the Krupp affair, 
spoke of the "safe ambush" from which socialist editors could 
shoot their carefully aimed arrows of calumny. The emperor's 
criticism is unjust, for the socialist editor who departs from the 
truth is always exposed to the risk of prosecution and punish- 
ment. Bismarck hit the right nail on the head. 

A gigantic and magnificently organized party like the Ger- 
man socialist party has need of a no less gigantic apparatus of 
editors, secretaries, bookkeepers, and numerous other employees, 
whose sole task is to serve this colossal machine. Mutatis mutaiv- 
dis the same is true of the other great branch of the working- 
class movement, the trade-union organizations. Now, for the rea- 
sons that have previously been discussed, there are available for 
the service of the German labour movement no more than a very 
small number of refugees from the bourgeoisie. It is for this 
reason that most of the posts are filled by men of working-class 
origin, who by zeal and by study have succeeded in gaining the 
confidence of their comrades. It may, then, be said that there 
exists a proletarian elite which arises spontaneously by a process 
of natural selection within the socialist party, and that its mem- 
bers come to perform functions altogether different from those 
which they originally exercised. To make use of a phrase which 
is convenient and comprehensible despite its lack of scientific 
precision, we may say that such men have abandoned manual 
work to become brain- workers. For those who make such a 
change considerable advantages accrue, altogether independent 
of the advantages which attach per se to mental work when com- 
pared to manual. The manual worker who has become an official 
of the socialist party is no longer in a position of strictly per- 
sonal and purely mercenary dependence upon his employer or 
upon the manager of the factory; he has become a free man, 

^"Speech in the Eeichstag, October 9, 1878. Cf. Furst Bismarck's Beden, 
mit verbind gescMcMlicher Darstellung von PMlipp Stein, Eeclam, Leip- 
zig, vol. viii, p. 110. 


engaged in intellectual work on behalf of an impersonal enter- 
prise. Moreover, he is bound to this enterprise, not solely by 
his strongest material interests, but also by the powerful ties of 
the ideal and of solidarity in the struggle. And notwithstanding 
certain exceptions which may confuse the minds of the profane, 
he is treated far more humanely than by any private employer. 
In relation to the party the employee is not a simple wage- 
earner, but rather a profit-sharing associate — not, of course, a 
profit-sharer in the industrial sense, since the party is not a com- 
mercial undertaking for the earning of dividends, but a profit- 
sharer in the ideal sense. It is not suggested that the party 
employee earns his bread in the most pleasant way in the world. 
On the contrary, as has been said in earlier chapters,^^ the daily 
breads which with rare exceptions is not unduly plentiful, must 
be earned by the fulfilment of an enormous amount of labour, 
prematurely exhausting health and energy. Nevertheless the 
ex-manual worker can live with dignity and comparative ease. 
Since he has a fixed salary, his position is more secure, and 
though outwardly more stormy, it is inwardly more tranquil, 
than that of the ordinary wage-earner. Should he be imprisoned, 
the party cares for him and his dependents, and the more often 
he is prosecuted the better become his chances of rapid advance- 
ment in his career of socialist official with all the advantages 
attaching to the position. 

We may here consider the interesting question. What is the 
numerical ratio between the socialist bureaucracy and the organ- 
ized masses; how many comrades are there for each party offi- 
cial? If we include in the term ''official" all the mandataries 
of the party in the communes, etc., most of whom are unpaid, 
we sometimes attain to surprising results. For example, the 
socialist organization of the grand duchy of Baden, with a mem- 
bership ( 1905) of 7,332, had more than 1,000 municipal coun- 
cillors.^^ According to these figures, every seventh member of 
the Badenese party had the honour of being a party representa- 
tive. This example, however, was quoted by the executive in its 
report to the congress of Jena precisely on account of its abnor- 
mality. Even though it may not be unique in southern Ger- 
many, it does not in truth bear upon the question we are now 
considering, which is the numerical relation between the enrolled 

" Cf . pp. 57, 115. 

^FrotokoU d. Verhandl. d. Farteitags su Jena, 1905, p. 16. 


membership and the party employees in the strict sense of the 
term, considered as a group of persons permanently and directly 
engaged in the service of the collectivity. The following figures 
give some idea of this ratio. According to a notice which in 1904 
went the round of the German socialist pres^/^ the party at that 
time employed, in addition to 1,476 persons engaged in the party 
printing establishment (about two-thirds of whom enjoyed the 
benefits of the eight-hour day, whilst many also had the right to 
regular holidays), 329 individuals working on the editorial staff 
and as delivery agents. The daily socialist press had in 1909 a 
circulation of one million, whilst the trade-union journals, weekly 
for the most part, had a far higher circulation.^* Alike in the 
trade unions and in the socialist party the number of paid em- 
ployees is rapidly increasing. The first regularly appointed and 
paid leaders in the European labour movement were the officials 
nominated in 1840 by the English Ironf ounders ' Society. To-day 
in the trade-union organizations of the United Kingdom there 
are more than one thousand salaried employees.^^ In Germany, 
in the year 1898, the number of trade-union officials was 104; 
in 1904 it was 677, of whom 100 belonged to the metal-workers 
and 70 to the bricklayers and masons' union. This increase in 
the officialdom is accelerated, not merely by the steady increase 
in the membership, but also by the increasing complexity of the 
benefits offered by the organizations. Almost every meeting of 
the central executive discusses and determines upon the appoint- 
ment of new officials, rendered essential by the further differen- 
tiation of the trade-union functions.^° There are always found 
advocates for the creation of fresh specialized posts in the la- 
bour movement, to fulfil various technical offices^ to keep abreast 
of new discoveries and advances in methods of manufacture, to 
check the returns made by factory employers, to act as econo- 
mists and compile trade statistics. ^'^ 

For some years past the same tendency has been manifest in 
the German socialist party. According to the report of the ex- 
ecutive for the year 1909, very many district organizations now 
employ salaried secretaries. The number of district secretaries 

^^ ' ' Mitteldeutsche Sonntagszeitung, ' ' xi. No. 14. 

"Karl Kautsky, Der Weg sur MacM, ''Vorwarts," Berlin, 1909, p. 56. 

" Fausto Pagliari, Le Organ, e i loro Impiegati, ed. cit., pp. 8-9. 

" Ernst Deinhardt, Das Beamtenelement im, den deutscJien GewerTcschaf- 
ten, "Sozial Monatsh.," ix (xi), fasc. 12, p. 1019. 

" Adolph Braun, GewerTcschaf tUche Verfassungsfragen, ' ' Neue Zeit, ' ' 
xxix, No. 89. 


is 43, whilst in a single year the number of secretaries of con- 
stituencies increased from 41 to 62.^^ There is a mutual aid so- 
ciety for officials of the socialist party and of the trade unions, 
and its membership continually increases. In 1902 it had 433 
members; in 1905, 1,095; in 1907, 1,871; and in 1909, 2,474. But 
there must be officials who are not members of the society.^'' 

"When he abandons manual work for intellectual, the worker 
undergoes another transformation which involves his whole ex- 
istence. He gradually leaves the proletariat to become a member 
of the petty bourgeois class. At first, as we have seen, there is 
no more than a change in his professional and economic situa- 
tion. The salaries paid by the party, although modest, are dis- 
tinctly greater than the average wage which the worker gained 
before his entry into the socialist bureaucracy, and are calcu- 
lated to enable the recipients to lead a petty bourgeois life. In 
one of the German socialist congresses, "Wilhelm Liebknecht 
apostrophized the other leaders in the following terms: "You 
are for the most part aristocrats among the workers — aristocrats, 
I mean, in respect of income. The workers in the Erzgebirge or 
the weavers of Silesia would regard the salaries you earn as the 
income of a Crcesus. " ^° It is true, at least in the majority of 
cases, that the career of the party or trade-union employee does 
not positively transform the ex-manual worker into a capitalist.^^ 
Yet this career effects a notable elevation of the worker above 
the class to which he primarily belonged,^^ and in Germany there 

^ProtoJcoll d. Ver. d. Parteitags su Leipzig, "Vorwarts," Berlin, 1909, 
p. 20. — Similar phenomena may be observed in Italy, cf. supra, p. 125. 

"Adolf Weber, Kapital und Arbeit, ed. cit., p. 389. 

^^ ProtoTcoll des Parteitags zu Berlin, 1892, p. 122. 

^ It may be noted that the bourgeois aspect of certain positions to which 
the former manual worker attains, thanks to the party, is apparent rather 
than real. Thus, certain German socialist leaders are described as being 
by civil status ' ' owners of printing works, ' ' when they are in reality no 
more than the legal proprietors of undertakings belonging to the party, 
and receive, in addition to the salary properly payable for the work in 
which they are engaged, no more than a percentage on the profits of the 

^ It is obvious that those proletarians who have become members of the 
Reichstag, and whose speeches display a technical knowledge of working- 
class life, cannot remain manual workers. It is impossible to be working 
as a bricklayer at three o'clock and at four to give a speech in parliament 
upon stock-exchange legislation. Parliamentary life requires study and ex- 
pert knowledge, and the work of party leadership involves a man's whole 
activities. For economic reasons, too, it is impossible for the parliamentary 
representative to remain in the working class. The attempt to combine 


is applied to the existence led by such persons the sociologically 
precise term of gehohene Arheiter exist enz (a working-class life 
on a higher scale). Karl Marx himself did not hesitate to class- 
ify the working-class leaders under two heads, as hoherklassige 
(workers of a superior class, intellectual workers) and Arheiter 
(manual workers properly speaking) .^^ As we shall show in 
fuller detail in a subsequent chapter,^* the manual worker of 
former days becomes a petty bourgeois or even a bourgeois. In 
addition to this metamorphosis, and despite his frequent contact 
with the mass of the workers, he undergoes a profound psycho- 
logical transformation. The paid official, living at a higher so- 
cial level, will not always possess the moral strength to resist 
the seductions of his new environment. His political and social 
education will seldom suffice to immunize him against the new 
influences. August Bebel repeatedly drew the attention of the 
party to the dangers by which the leaders were beset, the risks 
to their class purity and to their unity of thought. The prole- 
tarian party-officials, he said, are "persons whose life has be- 
come established upon a comparatively stable basis. ' ' ^^ 

A closer examination will show that the phenomenon here con- 
sidered has a profound social significance, and that neither with- 
in nor without the party has it hitherto received the attention it 
deserves. For the German workers, the labour movement has an 
importance analogous to that of the Catholic Church for certain 
fractions of the petty bourgeoisie and of the rural population. 
In both eases we have an organization which furnishes oppor- 
tunities to the most intelligent members of certain classes to 
secure a rise in the social scale. In the Church, the peasant's 
son will often succeed in achieving social advance, whose equiv- 
alent in all the other liberal professions has remained the mo- 
nopoly of members of the aristocracy of birth or of wealth. No 
one of peasant birth becomes a general or a prefect^ but not a 
few peasants become bishops. Pope Pius X was of peasant ori- 
gin. Now that which the Church offers to peasants and to petty 

manual labour with parliamentary has always failed. Until a few years 
ago, until June, 1906, in the Badenese diet there was a member who was 
still engaged as a factory hand, but one day his employer said that he 
really could not any longer find employment for a representative of the 

^^Karl Marx, Brief e u. Aussuge, etc., ed. eit., p. 159. 

^Part IV, chap. v. 

^ August Bebel, speaking at the Dresden congress, 1903. Frotokoll uber 
die Verhandlungen des Parteitags, "Vorwarts," Berlin, 1903, p. 230. 


bourgeois, namely, a facility for ascent in the social scale, is 
offered to intelligent manual workers by the socialist party. 

As a source of social transformations the socialist party has 
many affinities with another institution, namely, the Prussian 
military organization. The son of a bourgeois family who adopts 
a permanent military career becomes a stranger to his own class. 
Should he attain to high rank, he will receive a title from the 
emperor. He loses his bourgeois characteristics and adopts the 
usages and opinions of his new feudal environment. It is true 
that these military officers are only manifesting the tendency to 
the attainment of "gentility" in which the whole bourgeoisie is 
involved,^® but in their case this process is greatly accelerated, 
and is effected with a full consciousness of its consequences. 
Every year hundreds of young men from the upper and middle 
strata of the bourgeois class become officers in the army, simply 
from the desire to secure a higher position and more social con- 
sideration. ^'^ In the socialist party a similar effect is often the 
result of necessity, the individual's social metamorphosis taking 
place independently of the will. But the general results are 

Thus the socialist party gives a lift to certain strata of the 
working class. The more extensive and the more complicated 
its bureaucratic mechanism, the more numerous are those raised 
by this machine above their original social position. It is the 
involuntary task of the socialist party to remove from the prole- 
tariat, to deproletarianize, some of the most capable and best 
informed of its members. Now, according to the materialist con- 
ception of history, the social and economic metamorphosis grad- 
ually involves a metamorphosis in the realm^ of ideas.^^ The 
consequence is that in many of the ex-workers this embourgeoise- 
ment is very rapidly effected. Naturally the change is less speedy 
in proportion as socialist theory is more deeply rooted in the 
mind of the individual. Numerous are those manual workers 
who, having attained a higher social and economic situation, 
none the less remain throughout their lives profoundly attached 

==« Franz Mehring: "It is distressing that at a time when the army can- 
not exist without bourgeois money and bourgeois intelligence, the bourgeois 
youth should have no higher ambition than to force his way into the 
feudal caste" {Ber Krieg gegen die Troddeln, "Leipziger Volkszeitung, " 
xi, No. 4). 

" Cf . supra, p. 14. 

=^Cf. August Bebel's speech to the Dresden congress to which refer- 
ence has already been made (ProtoTcoll, loe. cit.). 


to the socialist cause. In this case, however, the ex-manual 
worker is, just like the ex-bourgeois socialist, an ''ideologue," 
since his mentality does not correspond to his position in society. 
Sometimes, again, the psychological metamorphosis we are con- 
sidering is, as it were, inhibited by a tenacious and vigorous 
hereditary socialist mentality: 'here we see the children and 
grandchildren following their parents as whole-hearted combat- 
ants on behalf of the labour party, notwithstanding the elevated 
position to which they have attained. Experience shows, how- 
ever, that such cases are exceptional. Even when the deprole- 
tarianized socialist remains a sincere advocate of proletarian 
emancipation, and grows grey in his position of socialist editor 
or deputy, his children, sons as well as daughters, are thorough- 
going members of the higher social class into which they have 
been removed by the improvement in their father's social posi- 
tion, and this not merely in the material sense, but in respect of 
their ideas, so that it becomes impossible to distinguish them from 
their fellow-bourgeois.^^ In most cases the only bond which re- 
mains to attach the father to the working class, his faith in the 
politico-social dogma of socialism, is slackened in the son to be- 
come an absolute indifference and sometimes an open hostility to 
socialism. To sum up, it may be said that these former working- 
class people, considered as families and not as individuals, are 
absorbed sooner or later into the new bourgeois environment. 
The children receive a bourgeois education; they attend better 
schools than those to which their father had access ; ^° their in- 
terests are bourgeois and they very rarely recall the revolution- 
ary and anti-bourgeois derivation of their own entrance into the 
bourgeoisie. The working-class families which have been raised 
by the revolutionary workers to a higher social position, for the 

*'It need hardly be said that this phenomenon is not universal. We 
observe certain cases in which the children of ex-manual vrorkers who have 
become ofl&cials of the socialist party either desire of their own initiative to 
become ordinary wage-earners or are forced to do so by the insufficiency 
of their father's salary, which, especially when the family is a large one, 
does not suffice to give the children an education "suitable to their new 
status." There are certain socialist deputies and journalists whose sons 
have to earn their living as factory hands and whose daughters are ballet- 

^°A German trade-union employee whose education had been greatly 
inferior to that of his colleagues, and who, as he himself put it, had 
never attained to any ease in the right use of the dative and accusative 
cases, said to me about his son: "I shall be able to send him to the 
Eealgymnasium. My means will run to that now ! ' ' 


purpose of a more effective struggle against the bourgeoisie, thus 
come before long to be fused with the bourgeoisie.^^ 

Eeference has previously been made to a similar phenomenon 
in the case of the families of working-class leaders who are refu- 
gees from the class of bourgeois intellectuals.^^ The final result 
is the same, the only difference being that the children of the 
ex-manual workers forget their class of origin, whilst the chil- 
dren of the bourgeois intellectuals recall it. The result is that 
in the history of the labour movement we may observe a similar 
irony to that which may be seen in the history of the bourgeois 
resistance to the workers. The bourgeoisie has not been able to 
prevent a number of the best instructed, most capable, and most 
adroit among its elements from placing themselves at the head 
of the mortal enemies of the bourgeoisie; it is often these ex- 
bourgeois who stimulate the proletarians to resistance and organ- 
ize them for the struggle. The proletariat suffers a similar fate. 
In the severe struggle it has undertaken for the expropriation 
of the expropriators, it elevates from the depths of its own class 
those who have the finest intelligences and the keenest vision, by 
serious collective sacrifices gives them the pen to use in place 
of ruder tools, and in doing so it throws into the arms of the 
enemy those who have been selected with the express purpose of 
fighting the privileged class. If the chosen combatants do not 
themselves go over to the enemy, their children at least will do 
so. This is indeed a tragical destiny: ex-bourgeois on the one 
side, and ex-manual workers on the other. The imposing politi- 

'^It is by no means uncommon to find that the sons of noted socialist 
leaders, when they do not avoid all political activity and exhibit a disin- 
clination to the discussion of political problems, frequently display them- 
selves in public as the most violent opponents of socialism. Among such 
opponents, in Germany, we have a son of the socialist deputy Karl Ulrich 
(who was a metal-worker before he entered the party bureaucracy) ; a son 
of the late socialist leader Wilhelm Bracke, the barrister Bracke of Breslau, 
who belongs to the extreme right and is a member of the Eeichsverband 
zur Bekampfung der Sozialdemokratie (anti-socialist league) ; and there 
are other instances. Sometimes it is doubtless the outcome of unhappy 
family relationships that the children of socialists follow other paths than 
the fathers: the bourgeois family of the socialist leader persists in its old 
anti-socialist views, in which the pater-familias has been unable to effect 
any change. The wife and daughter of Jean Jaures, the anti-clerical, for 
example, are strict Catholics. The daughter for a long time cherished the 
idea of entering a convent, hoping by this sacrifice to avert God's anger 
which would otherwise be visited upon her father on account of his 
political activities. 

^ Cf . supra, p. 250. 


cal contest between the classes representing respectively capital 
and labour ends, however paradoxical this may appear, in a 
manner analogous with that which in the sphere of economic 
competition is determined through the operation of supply and 
demand, speculation, personal adroitness, etc. — in a social ex- 
change among the classes. It is hardly necessary to repeat that 
this interchange of the ripples on the surface of the waves does 

I not weaken, and far less annul, the profundity of social antag- 

I onisms. It is obvious that the process of social exchange can on 
either side affect no more than infinitesimal minorities. But it 

|. affects the most influential, and herein lies its sociological im- 

U portance. It affects the self-made leaders. 

3. Capitalist Defence as the Creator of New Petty Bourgeois 


The embourgeoisement of certain strata of the working-class 
party has other factors in addition to the influence of the bu- 
reaucratic apparatus of the socialist party, the trade unions, and 
the cooperative societies. This development, which is a neces- 
sary characteristic of every movement towards emancipation, is 
to a certain extent paralleled by the constitution of a petty bour- 
geoisie of strongly proletarian characteristics, itself also devel- 
oped from below upwards, itself also an accessory phenomenon 
of the struggle of the organized workers for social emancipation, 
but which takes place outside the various forms of socialist or- 
ganization. We allude to those proletarian elements which be- 
come particularly numerous in times of crisis, when the labour 
organizations are still weak and persecuted, as was the case in 
Germany during the days of the anti-socialist law. At such 
times numerous proletarians are victimized, it may be on account 
of their passive fidelity to party or trade union, it may be be- 
cause their attitude is frankly socialist and "subversive." 
Forced by necessity, these victims of capitalist reprisals have 
no other resource than to adopt some form of independent enter- 
prise. Abandoning their ancient handicraft, they open a small 
shop, fruit and vegetables, stationery, grocery, or tobacco; they 
become pedlars, keep a coffee-stall, or the like.^^ In most cases 

^^Eiehard Calwer (Das Tcommunistische Manifest, etc., ed. cit., pp. 8 et 
seq.) inveighs with especial vigour against these petty bourgeois socialists. 
He makes the caustic observation: "To-day a man's every need, from 
clothing to cigars, can be supplied at petty bourgeois socialist establish- 
ments." No doubt he is aiming also at the cooperatives. 


their ancient associates support them with admirable solidarity, 
regarding it as a duty to assist these unfortunate comrades by 
giving them their custom. It sometimes happens that some of 
these new petty bourgeois find their way definitely into the mid- 
dle class. Thus capitalist resistance has automatically created 
new strata of petty bourgeois. 

In addition to these victims of the struggle for proletarian 
emancipation, there are not a few workers who leave their class, 
not from necessity, but influenced to a large extent by the love 
of speculation and the desire to improve their social position. 
Thus there has come into existence a whole army of ex-prole- 
tarians, petty bourgeois and small shopkeepers, who all claim, 
in virtue of a superior moral right, that the comrades must sup- 
port them by dealing exclusively at their establishments. The 
mode of life of these small traders often reduces them, despite 
all their good wishes, to the level of social parasites ; their com- 
mand of capital being extremely small, the goods they offer to 
their customers, that is to say to the organized workers, are both 
bad and dear. 

Still more important in German socialism is the role of those 
who are termed Parteibudiger, that is to say tavern-keepers who 
are members of the party. During the prevalence of the anti- 
socialist law their political mission was of incontestable impor- 
tance. In many small towns the tavern-keepers belonging to 
the party still exercise multifarious and important functions. It 
is in their houses that the executive committee meets; often 
these are the only places where socialist and trade-union jour- 
nals are found on the tables ; and in many cases, since the own- 
ers of other halls are hostile or timid, it is here alone that public 
meetings can be held. In a word, they are necessary instru- 
ments in the local socialist struggle.^* In the more important 
centres, however, these places, with their unhygienic environ- 
ment, become a veritable curse to the party. It may be added 
that the brutal struggle for existence leads the petty bourgeois 

^We owe to the pens of foreign observers some vigorous descriptions 
of the life of these Parteikneipen, a life not devoid of psychological in- 
terest. Among these we may refer to La Democratie socialiste allemande, 
by Edgard Milhaud, professor of political economy at the University of 
Geneva, a French socialist (pp. 148 et seq.) ; also to the work of Otto Von 
Leixner, which dates back to the days of the anti- socialist law {Sosiale 
Brief e, ed. cit., p. 325) — but this writer of feuilletons gives us a picture 
which is too highly coloured. 


tavern-keepers to exercise improper pressure upon the socialist 
organizations. They enjoy a considerable influence among the 
comrades, and this pressure is commonly exerted in a manner 
directly injurious to the interests of the proletariat. The at- 
tempts which have been made in Germany, especially since 1890, 
to induce the workers to abandon the unwholesome rooms of the 
old taverns and to frequent the great modern establishments 
with fine airy halls, have led, as was inevitable, to **a vigorous 
opposition" on the part of the socialist tavern-keepers.^^ For 
many years the members of the party whose living is made by 
the sale of drink have energetically resisted the foundation of 
"People's Houses"; notwithstanding the sympathy for such in- 
stitutions they may theoretically possess, they dread this new 
form of competition, and act in accordance with their immediate 
personal interests. In most cases their opposition has proved 
ineffectual.^® Not always, however. Even to-day there exist 
German towns with from twenty thousand to thirty thousand 
inhabitants in which the existence of a ParteiJcneipe (which de- 
spite its name of "Party tavern" is the exclusive property of 
some individual member of the party) has proved an insuperable 
obstacle in the way of the local labour organizations when they 
have desired to build a place of their own, or even to obtain 
from other and non-socialist innkeepers the use of a more com- 
modious hall for their meetings. 

For an additional reason, these socialist taverns are calamitous 
in their influence upon the party, in that they oppose a potent 
obstacle to the extension of the temperance movement which has 
been initiated during recent years.^^ It is no secret in socialist 

^E. Calwer, op. cit., p. 9. 

^The "Korrespondenzblatt" of the General Committee published in 1906 
(No. 29) statistics regarding the activity of GewerJcschaftsJcartelle (Trades' 
Councils), from which we cull the following details. A GewerTcscTiaftshaus 
(an establishment belonging to the trade unions) exists in the following 
localities: Berlin, Brunswick, Breslau, Cassel, Charlottenburg, Cologne, Dres- 
den, Elberfeld, Feuerbach, Frankfort-on-the-Main, Hanau, Heidelberg, Kiel, 
Leipzig, Liegnitz, Mannheim, Miihlhausen in Thuringia, Offenbach-on-the 
Main, Plauen in Vogtland, Solingen, Stettin, Stralsund, Stuttgart, Treves, 
Wilhelmshaven, and Zittau. Even when these places, which are often 
called "People's Houses," are not the exclusive property of the Trades 
Councils, they owe their existence in great part to the local trade unions, 
and in some cases also to the socialist party. It should be observed that 
the productive and distributive cooperative societies, being in Germany 
strictly neutral in political matters, play no part in these undertakings. 

" To the delegates at the socialist congress of Jena was given a number 


circles that long before tlie congress of Essen (1907) the party 
would have declared openly against alcoholism, and that after 
this congress it would have applied its decisions with greater 
vigour, had not the party leaders been restrained by the fear 

of "Der abstinente Arbeiter, " the official organ of the League of Abstinent 
Workers, edited by Georg Davidsohn, from which the following passage may 
be quoted: "The Socialist Publicans' Association of Berlin has been asked 
on two occasions whether its members desired a conference upon the sub- 
ject of public-house reform. No answer was ever received! — Comrade M. 
subsequently enquired on three separate occasions whether the Association 
would not like to take part in such a conference, imagining that he had 
to deal with impartial and objective-minded comrades, who would no longer 
continue to ignore a question so closely touching their own interests, unless 
they wished grave misunderstandings to arise between two organizations 
within the framework of the party. But again no answer was received! 

' ' The president of the Charlottenburg section of the League of Free Pub- 
licans was in favour of discussion of the subject, but the meeting refused 
to consider it! Do the dealers in alcohol then imagine that they can in this 
way prevent the spread of the teetotal movement, that they can set back the 
hands of the world's clock? This is as little possible to them as it is to 
others, and if they continue to shut their eyes to the forward movement, 
it is they alone who will have to pay the price. 

* ' A most serious incident, which throws a strong light upon the pernicious 
influence exercised upon the life of our party by certain socialist publicans, 
may be described in a few plain words. On August 22nd was held in Berlin 
the party meeting to decide upon the subjects for discussion at the Jena 
congress. In the fourth electoral district of Berlin our comrades had been 
engaged in an excellent work of preparation, distributing among those 
present at the meeting about 600 leaflets and a number of pamphlets upon 
the drink question. Here could be observed a thing which three years ago 
would have seemed barely conceivable. On almost every table were bottles 
of seltzer water and the waiters could hardly get around fast enough to 
supply the demand for this beverage. The sentiment of the meeting, there- 
fore, could not fail to be favourable to our two proposals (one presented 
by district 167A, whilst the other was backed by numerous signatures just 
obtained from among those present at the meeting) to have the alcohol 
question placed upon the agenda of the next congress. But who can count 
upon fortune! One proposal after another was read and discussed, without 
any mention being made of ours. I had already risen to propose our 
motion. All of a sudden, however, the chairman, a publican, declared that 
the discussion of the proposals was concluded and that the delegates to 
the congress were now to be elected ! I demanded that our proposals should 
be read. But the chairman ruled that it was 'too late' and the names of 
delegates were already being sent in. Our proposals, which were differ- 
entiated from the others by being printed in a larger format, had (both of 
them as luck would have it!) iDeen 'by an oversight' slipped beneath a 
newspaper, so that the chairman and his two assessors (all of whom had 
read the proposals before the meeting was opened) had overlooked them 
and forgotten them! In answer to my remonstrances the chairman promised 
that he would endeavour to bring the matter up for discussion after the 


that the measures recommended, and even a simple temperance 
propaganda, would react injuriously upon the interests of an 
influential category of the members of the party. 

It is impossible to determine with any accuracy the number 
of individuals who have become independent petty bourgeois as 
the outcome of the struggles of the workers and the political 
reprisals of the employers. Tobacconists, grocers, etc., elude 
statistical investigation. The only definite information we pos- 
sess relates to tavern-keepers. In the parliamentary group we 
find that in 1892, of 35 socialist deputies, 4 were publicans 
(11.4%); in 1903, of 58 socialist deputies, 5 were publicans 
(8.6%) ; and in 1906, of 81 socialist deputies, 6 were publicans 
(7.4%). In the local socialist sections, the proportion of tavern- 
keepers is considerable. At Leipzig, in 1887, there were 30 
Parteikneipen. In 1900, among the socialist branches of the 
Leipzig country districts with 4,855 members there were 84 res- 
taurant-keepers and publicans (1.7%); in Leipzig city, where 
the socialists numbered 1,681, there were in 1900, 47 tavern- 
keepers, and in 1905, 63 (3.4%). Offenbach, in 1905, 1,668 mem- 
bers, 74 publicans and 2 retailers of bottled beer (4.6%). Mu- 
nich, in 1906, 6,704 members ; milk-retailers, tobacconists, sellers 
of cheese, etc., and publicans (wine merchants not included), 369 
(5.5%). Frankfort-on-the-Main, in 1906, 2,620 members, 25 
publicans (12 retailers of bottled beer and tobacconists excluded 
— approximately 1%). Marburg, in 1906, 114 members, 2 pub- 
licans (1.8%). Reinickendorf-Ost, near Berlin, in 1906, 303 
members, 18 tavern- and restaurant-keepers (5.9%). These fig- 
ures serve to show that in certain towns there is a socialist pub- 
lican for every twenty members. Since the socialist publican 
depends mainly upon socialist customers, it follows thai; these 
twenty comrades must provide the chief financial resources of 
the enterprise. 

The best proof of the numerical strength and the importance 

delegates had been elected. But in the circumstances this was impossible; 
it was already after midnight, so that when the election was over, and 
even before the chairman could close the meeting, the comrades were all 
streaming out of the door. The only thing the chairman could answer 
to our complaints was: 'Oh, well, such proposals have been brought for- 
ward in vain year after year; they would have been rejected again as 
usual. ' Such are the arguments used by a comrade who occupies a position 
of trust in the labour movement. What a perspective does this open when 
we remember that, at any rate here in East Berlin, the majority of our 
party officials are publicans!" (Anno iii, No. 18.) 


of this category of the members of the party is that they have 
founded at Berlin a powerful association, the Berlin League 
of Socialist Publicans and Innkeepers. It must not be forgotten 
that this association has largely come into existence from the 
consideration that the socialist publicans have other political 
tasks to fulfil from those which devolve upon their "bourgeois" 
colleagues, nor can it be denied that its members constitute a 
category of chosen socialists of tried fidelity, who have rendered 
important services to the party in its political campaigns and 
agitations, and whose socialist clientele is actuated by a high 
spirit of solidarity in giving these comrades its custom. It is 
inevitable, however, that the existence of such an organization, 
which represents peculiar economic interests, should in certain 
cases involve inconveniences, not merely for its competitors, the 
bourgeois publicans, but also for the socialist comrades, and that 
it should tend to assume the aspect of a party within the party. 
In the summer of 1906, the increase in the cost of production of 
beer, which resulted from new taxation by which the breweries 
were especially hard hit, led the publicans to raise the price to 
the consumers. Thereupon the German workers in a great many 
towns protested most energetically, and declared what was 
known as the "beer war," boycotting certain breweries and the 
publicans who had raised the price — an agitation which led cer- 
tain foreign socialists to observe sarcastically that you may take 
anything from the German worker except his beer. In this 
struggle, which was in many places conducted with great ob- 
stinacy, the organized workers encountered resistance from a 
notable proportion of socialist publicans. These, adopting a 
tactical outlook estranged from socialist principles, endeavoured 
to alarm the comrades by insisting upon the dangers of their 
campaign, and by predicting that if the consumers should suc- 
ceed in forcing the producers to bear the new taxes, the govern- 
ment, delighted to find that these taxes were not pressing upon 
the masses of the people but were borne only by a restricted 
class of brewers and factory owners, would hasten to introduce 
new and yet heavier taxation, which could not fail to affect the 

To sum up, it may be said that the petty bourgeois of prole- 
tarian origin, although the conditions of their life are not as a 
rule notably better than those of the proletarian strata from 
which they derive, constitute in more than one respect, on ac- 
count of the particular interests they represent, a. serious ob- 


stacle to the forward march of the working-class legions. More- 
over, it has to be remembered that the influence of this new 
stratum impresses upon the party from the mental point of view 
(in consequence of the new place which these elements occupy 
in the general economic process) a markedly petty bourgeois 



Every individual member of the vs^orking class cherishes the 
hope of rising into a higher social sphere which will guarantee 
to him a better and less restricted existence. The workman's 
ideal is to become a petty bourgeois.^ To non-initiates and to 
superficial observers the working-class members of the socialist 
parties seem always to be petty bourgeois. The proletariat has 
not been able to emancipate itself psychically from the social 
environment in which it lives. For example, the German 
worker, as his wages have increased, has acquired the disease 
which is in the blood of the German petty bourgeoisie, the club- 
mania. In every large town, and not a few small ones, there 
is a swarm of working-class societies : gymnastic clubs, choral so- 
cieties, dramatic societies; even smokers' clubs, bowling clubs, 
rowing clubs, athletic clubs — all sorts of associations whose es- 
sentially petty bourgeois character is not destroyed by the fact 
that they sail under socialist colours. A bowling club remains 
a bowling club even if it assumes the pompous name of "Sons 
of Freedom Bowling Club." 

Just as little as the bourgeoisie can the socialist workers be 
regarded as a great homogeneous grey mass, although this con- 
sideration does not modify the fact that since proletarians all 
live by the sale of their only commodity, labour, the organized 
socialist workers are, at least in theory, conscious of their own 
unity in their common opposition to the owners of the means of 
production and to the governmental representatives of these. 

* According to Tullio Eossi Doria (Le Forse Democratiche ed il Pro- 
gramma socialista, "Avanti," anno xiv, No. 30), every struggle for higher 
wages has the same end in view. But as a rule the struggle for higher 
wages is carried out by a trade union, and the aim of the trade uniona 
is to secure a better position for the manual workers, not to make them 
petty bourgeois. The organized workers as a whole desire to live like the 
petty bourgeois, but not to fulfil the economic function of these. They 
wish to remain manual workers. 



Yet it cannot be denied that the actual system of manufacture 
which unites under the same roof all the different categories of 
workers employed in a modern establishment for the production 
of railway-carriages, for instance, does not serve to overthrow 
the barriers which separate the various sub-classes of workers.^ 
Nor is it less true, looking at the matter from the other side, 
that there exists among the workers the sense of a need for 
differentiation which will readily escape those who do not come 
in personal contact with them. The kind of work, the rate of 
wages, differences of race and climate, produce numerous shades 
of difference alike in the mode of life and in the tastes of the 
workers. As early as 1860 it was said: ''Entre ouvriers il y a 
des categories et un classement aristocratique. Les imprimeurs 
prennent la tete; les chiffonniers, les vidangeurs, les egoutiers 
ferment la marehe. ' ' ^ Between the compositor and the casual 
labourer in the same country there exist differences in respect 
of culture and of social and economic status more pronounced 
than those between the compositor in one country and the small 
manufacturer in another.* The discrepancy between the differ- 
ent categories of workers is plainly displayed even in the trade- 
union movement. "We know, for example, that the policy of the 
compositors' unions in Germany, France, and Italy differs from 
that of the other unions, and also from that of the socialist 
party, exhibiting a tendency towards the right, being more op- 
portunist and more accommodating. In Germany, the composi- 
tors' union has for its president a Rexhauser, and in France a 
Keufer. "We observe, too, in the conduct of the diamond-work- 
ers in Holland and in Belgium the same unsocialistic, unprole- 
tarian, and particularist tendencies. The aristocratic elements of 
the working class, the best paid, those who approximate most 
closely to the bourgeoisie, pursue tactics of their own. In the ac- 
tive work of the labour movement, the division of the organized 
masses into different social strata is often plainly manifest. 
Working-class history abounds in examples showing how certain 
fractions or categories of the proletariat have, under the influ- 
ence of interests peculiar to their sub-class, detached themselves 

^Eudolf Broda and Julius Deutsch, Das moderne Proletariat, Eeimer, 
Berlin, 1910, p. 73. 

^Edmond About, Le Trogres, ed. cit., pp. 51-2. 

* Cf . the interesting communication upon the increasing differentiation of 
the working classes made by Hermann Herkner to the congress of the Verein 
fiir Sozialpolitik held at Nuremberg in 1911 (Protolcoll, pp. 122 et seq.). 


from tlie great army of labour and made common cause witli the 
bourgeoisie. Thus it happens, generally speaking, that the work- 
ers in armaments factories have little sympathy with anti-mili- 
tarist views. In the London congress of the Independent Labour 
Party in 1910, the Woolwich delegate, largely representing the 
view of the employees at Woolwich arsenal, expressed strong 
dissent from the opinion of those delegates who had brought 
forward a resolution in favour of a restriction of armaments 
and of compulsory arbitration in international disputes.^ Again, 
the check which was sustained at Venice by the general strike of 
protest against the Tripolitan campaign was due to the opposi- 
tion of a section of the arsenal workers.*' The very fact that 
the cessation of work on May 1st is but a partial demonstration 
renders it possible to divide the workers into two classes. One 
consists of those who, thanks to better conditions of life and 
other favourable circumstances, "can allow themselves the lux- 
ury" of celebrating the 1st of May; the other comprises those 
who by poverty or ill-fortune are compelled to remain at work.^ 

^ " Volksstimme, " 1910, No. 76, fourth supplement. 

' Exaggeration must be avoided here, and it is desirable to point out that 
in the election of March 1912 in the Venetian constituency in which the 
arsenal is situated, notwithstanding all kinds of adverse pressure, two 
thousand electors expressed their definite disapproval of the African cam- 
paign by voting for the intransigeant socialist Musatti ("Avanti, " anno 
xvi. No. 85), 

' The phrase quoted in the text is used by a correspondent of the ' ' Volks- 
stimme, " of Frankfort (Die Maifeier am ersten Maisonntag, Manifest- 
Nummer, 1910, seventh supplement). The same article shows from how 
distiactively capitalist an outlook the better-paid workers regard the May 
Day celebration. We read as follows : ' ' Now a few words upon the pecuni- 
ary and principal question. By my occupation and as son of a socialist 
publican I have come much in contact with working-class circles, and have 
questioned a great many working men (many of them organized both 
politically and industrially, and some of them earning as much as 45s. a 
week) as to their attitude towards the May Day celebration. I am con- 
vinced that notwithstanding all their idealism and willingness for self- 
sacrifice, the more intelligent workers are disinclined to lose a day's wages 
on behalf of May Day. The pecuniary sacrifice has no adequate relationship 
to any practical or ideal aim! It would even seem that the better-paid 
workers would be foolish to abstain from work on the 1st of May; for one 
who has a daily earning of six or seven shillings will, notwithstanding any 
subsidy he may receive from the union, have to sacrifice a great deal more 
(including what he will lose by being locked out!) than one who earns 
no more than three or four shillings a day. The money devoted by the trade 
unions to the payment of subsidies could be far better employed in giving 
a more brilliant and imposing form to the May Day celebration." — The 


The need for differentiation is manifested still more clearly 
when we consider more extended groups of workers. The differ- 
ence between skilled and unskilled workers is primarily and pre- 
dominantly economic, and displays itself in a difference of work- 
ing conditions. As time passes, this difference becomes trans- 
formed into a veritable class distinction. The skilled and better 
paid workers hold aloof from the unskilled and worse paid work- 
ers. The former are always organized, while the latter remain 
"free" labourers; and the fierce economic and social struggles 
which occur between the two groups constitute one of the most 
interesting phenomena of modern social history. This struggle, 
which by the physiologist Angelo Mosso is termed ergomachia, 
the struggle for the feeding-ground,® is waged with ever-increas- 
ing intensity. The organized workers demand from the unor- 
ganized the strictest solidarity, and insist that the latter should 
abandon work whenever they themselves are in conflict with the 
employers. When this demand is not immediately complied 
with, they insult the unorganized workers by the use of oppro- 
brious names which have found a place in scientific terminology. 
In France, in the days of Louis Philippe, they were called 
bourmont and ragusa. At the present day they are in Germany 
termed StreikirecJier; in Italy, krumiri; in England, hlacklegs; 
in America, scabs; in Hainault, gambes de bos; in France, 
jaunes, renards, or bedouins;^ in Holland, onderkruipers; and 
so on. It is incontestable that the grievances of the organized 
workers against the unorganized are largely justified. On the 
other hand, it cannot be denied that in the working class this 
ergomachia is not essentially the outcome of differences between 
the well-disposed workers and the ill-disposed, as masters and 
men naively believe, of course inverting the roles. For the so- 
cialists, in fact, the strikers are always heroes and the strike- 
breakers are always villains ; whilst for the employers the strike- 
breakers are honest and hardworking fellows, whilst the strikers 
are idle good-for-nothings. In reality, ergomachia does not con- 
sist of a struggle between two categories distinguished by ethical 

writer in the " Volksstimme " alludes here to the proposal to abandon the 
idea of abstaining from work on May 1st, and to celebrate the occasion 
in the evening by a great festival. 

* Angelo Mosso, Vita moderna degli Italiani, ed. cit., p. 178, 

* Similarly in Italy, towards 1890, the term heduini was employed. Cf . 
Sombart, Studien sur EntwicMungsgeseliiclite des italienischen Proletariats, 
"Archiv fiir Soz. Gesetzg. u. Statistik, " vol. vi, p. 235. 


characteristics, but is for the most part a war between the better- 
paid workers and the poorer strata of the proletariat. The lat- 
ter, from the economic aspect, consist of those who are still eco- 
nomically unripe for a struggle with the employers to secure 
higher wages. We often hear the most poverty-stricken workers, 
conscious of their inferiority, contend that their wages are high 
enough, whilst the better paid and organized workers declare that 
the unorganized are working at starvation rates. One of the most 
indefatigable of French socialist women ^<* has well said : "On 
est presque tente d'excuser les trahisons de ces supplanteurs, 
quand on a vu, de ses propres yeux vu, tout le tragique du prob- 
leme des sans-travail en Angleterre. Dans les grands ports du 
sud ou de I'ouest, on voit ranges, le long d'un mur de quale, des 
milliers et des milliers d'affames, a la figure have, grelottants, 
qui esperent se faire embaucher comme debardeurs. II en faut 
quelques dizaines. Quand les portes s'ouvrent, c'est une ter- 
rible ruee, une veritable bataille. Recemment, un de ces hommes, 
les cotes presses, mourut etouffe dans la melee." The organ- 
ized workers, on their side, do not consider themselves obliged 
to exhibit solidarity towards the unorganized, even when they 
are all sharing a common poverty during crises of unemploy- 
ment. The German trades councils often demand that the sub- 
sidies which (in accordance with the so-called Strasburg system) 
are provided in certain large towns from the public funds to 
render assistance in cases of unemployment, should be reserved 
for the organized workers, declaring that the unorganized have 
no claim to assistance.^^ 

The more fortunate workers do not only follow their natural 
inclination to fight by all available means against their less well- 
to-do comrades, who, by accepting lower wages, threaten the 
higher standard of life of the organized workers — using in the 
struggle, as always happens when economic interests conflict, 
methods which disregard every ethical principle. They also 
endeavour to hold themselves completely aloof. The union but- 
ton is often, as it were, a patent of nobility which distinguishes 

"Madame Sorgue, Betour d' Angleterre, "La Societe Nouvelle," xvi, No. 
8, p. 197. 

"■The reader will find a more copious and more detailed study of this 
matter in an essay compiled by the present writer in collaboration with his 
wife. Michels, Das FroUem der Arieitslosigkeit und ihre BeMmpfung 
durch die deutschen freien GewerTcschaften, "Archiv f. Sozialw.," xxxi, 
September 2, 1910, pp. 479-81. 


its wearer from the plebs. This happens even when the unor- 
ganized workers would like nothing better than to make com- 
mon cause with the organized. In almost all the large British 
and American trade unions there is manifest a tendency to cor- 
poratism, to the formation of sharply distinguished working- 
class aristocracies.^^ The trade unions, having become rich and 
powerful, no longer seek to enlarge their membership, but en- 
deavour rather to restrict it by imposing a high entrance fee, by 
demanding a certificate of prolonged apprenticeship, and by 
other similar means, all deliberately introduced in order to re- 
tain certain privileges in their own hands at the expense of other 
workers following the same occupation. The anti-alien move- 
ment is the outcome of the same professional egoism, and is es- 
pecially conspicuous among the Americans and Australians, who 
insist upon legislation to forbid the immigration of foreign 
workers.^^ The trade unions in such cases adopt a frankly 
*' nationalist" policy. In order to keep out the ''undesirables" 
they do not hesitate to appeal for aid to the "class-state," and 
they exercise upon the government a pressure which may lead 
their country to the verge of war with the labour-exporting 
land.^* In Europe, too, we may observe, although here to a less 
degree, the formation within the labour movement of closed 
groups and coteries (and it is in this that the tendency to oli- 
garchy consists), which arise in direct conflict with the theoreti- 
cal principles of socialism. The workers employed at the Naples 
arsenal, who recently demanded of the government that ' ' a third 
of the new places to be filled should be allotted to the sons of 
existing employees who are following their fathers ' trade, ' ' ^^ 
are in sentiment by no means so remote from the world of our 
day as might at first be imagined. As has been well said^ *'la 

^^ Cf ., inter alia, Daniel De Leon, The Burning Question of Trades Union- 
ism, Labour News Co., New York, 1906, p. 13. 

^^ This phenomenon has recently been well espounded by an Italian polit- 
ical economist, a member of the Conservative party — Giuseppe Prato, II 
ProtesBionismo operaio e I'Esclusione del Lavoro straniero, Soc. Tip-Editr. 
Nazionale, Turin, 1910. This work, however, exhibits a certain tendency to 
over- statement, and inclines to ignore the opposing ideological and social- 
ist tendencies which are to-day manifest among the organized workers of 
continental Europe. 

^* The American labour organizations have played a notable part in pro- 
ducing tension between the United States and Japan, a tension which, a 
few years ago, nearly culminated in war. 

^^Angelo Mosso, Vita moderna degli Italiani, ed. cit., p. 191. 


lutte de classe a pour objectif de faire monter la classe inferieure 
an niveau de la superieure, c'est ainsi que les revolutions reus- 
sissent souvent, uon a demoeratiser les eugeniques, mais a eu- 
geniser les democrats."^*' 

The policy of social reform, which finds its most definite ex- 
pression in labour legislation, does not entail the same advan- 
tages for all sections of the working class. For example, the 
law which raises the minimum age of the factory worker will 
have varying effects according as may vary the power of the 
labour organizations, the rate of wages, the conditions of the la- 
bour market, etc., in the different branches of industry or agri- 
culture. Thus in certain categories of workers the effect of the 
law will be a transient depression of the standard of life, whilst 
in other cases it will lead to a permanent elevation in that stand- 
ard.^'^ There results an even greater accentuation of the differ- 
entiation which the proletarian groupings already present as the 
outcome of national, local, and technical differences. 

To sum up, it may be affirmed that in the contemporary work- 
ing class there is already manifest a horizontal stratification. 
Within the quatrieme etat we see already the movements of the 
embryonic cinquieme etat. One of the greatest dangers to the 
socialist movement, and one which must not be lightly disre- 
garded as impossible, is that gradually there may come into ex- 
istence a number of different strata of workers, as the outcome 
of the influence of a general increase of social wealth, in con- 
junction with the efforts made by the workers themselves to ele- 
vate their standard of life; this may in many cases enable them 
to secure a position in which, though they may not completely 
lose the common human feeling of never being able to get 
enough, from which even millionaires are not altogether ex- 
empt, they will become so far personally satisfied as to be gradu- 
ally estranged from the ardent revolutionary aspirations of the 
masses towards a social system utterly different from our own — 

"Cf. Eaoul de La Graeerie, Les Luttes Sociales, "Annales de I'lnstitut 
intern, de Soeiologie, " vol. xi, p. 185. 

"It is for this reason that in debates concerning the beneficial or in- 
jurious character of laws for the protection of labour and for the improve- 
ment of housing conditions, it is altogether erroneous to answer the ques- 
tions involved with a simple yes or no. In Italy, in especial, the dispute has 
been conducted from a restricted outlook, although with great ardour and 
brilliancy of thought. Of., for example, the polemic m the review "II 
Socialismo" during the year 1907 between Gina Lombroso and Tullio Eossi 


aspirations born of privation.^® Thus the working class will 
become severed into two unequal parts, subject to perpetual fluc- 
tuations in their respective size. 

" ' ' The more the personal well-being of the workman increases, the more 
harshly practical does he tend to become. Whilst still paying his theoretical 
tribute to the imperishable memory of Marx, what really interests him is 
to give a more vigorous support to his union ' ' (F. Naumann, Das Schicksal 
des Marxismus, "Die Hilfe," siv, No. 41). 



Attempts have not been lacking to solve the insoluble problem, 
how to obviate the leaders' dominion over the led. Among such 
attempts, there is one which is made with especial frequency, 
and which is advocated with considerable heat, to exclude all 
intellectuals from leadership in the working-class movement. 
This proposal reflects the dislike of the intellectuals which, in 
varying degrees, has been manifested in all countries and at all 
times. It culminates in the artificial creation of authenticated 
working-class leaders, and is based upon certain general social- 
ist dogmas, mutilated or imperfectly understood, or interpreted 
with undue strictness — on an appeal, for instance, to the prin- 
ciple enunciated at the constitutive congress of the first Interna- 
tional held at Geneva in 1866, that the emancipation of the work- 
ers can be effected only by the workers themselves. 

Above all, however, such proposals are based upon an alleged 
greater kinship between the leaders of proletarian origin and 
the proletarians they lead. The leaders who have themselves 
been manual workers are, we are told, more closely allied to the 
masses in their mode of thought, understand the workers better, 
experience the same needs as these, and are animated by the 
same desires. There is a certain amount of truth in this, inas- 
much as the ex-worker can not only speak with more authority 
than the intellectual upon technical questions relating to his 
former occupation, but has a knowledge of the psychology and 
of the material details of working-class life derived from per- 
sonal experience. It is unquestionably true that in the leaders of 
proletarian origin, as compared with the intellectuals, we see 
conspicuously exhibited the advantages of leadership as well as 
the disadvantages, since the proletarian commonly possesses a 
more precise understanding of the psychology of the masses, 
knows better how to deal with the workers. From this circum- 
stance the deduction is sometimes made that the ex- worker, when 
he has become immersed in the duties of political leadership, will 



continue to preserve a steady and secure contact with the rank 
and file, that he will choose the most practicable routes, and that 
his own proletarian experiences will afford a certain safeguard 
against his conducting the masses into regions and by-paths from 
which they are by nature totally estranged.^ 

The central feature of the syndicalist theory is found in the 
demand for direct action on the part of the trade union, enfran- 
chised from the tutelage of socialist leaders predominantly bour- 
geois in origin, the union being self-sufficient and responsible to 
itself alone. Direct action means that the proletariat is to pur- 
sue its aims without the intermediation of parliamentary repre- 
sentation. Syndicalism is described as the apotheosis of prole- 
tarian autonomy. Everything is to be effected by the energy, 
initiative, and courage of individual workers. The organized 
proletariat is to consist of an army of franc-tireurs, disembar- 
rassed of the impotent general staff of effete socialist bureau- 
crats, unhampered^ autonomous^ and sovereign.^ Passing, how- 
ever, from fiction to fact, we find that the most substantial dif- 
ference between syndicalism and political socialism, apart from 
questions of tactics, is to be found in a difference of social ori- 
gin in the leaders of the respective tendencies. The trade union 
is governed by persons who have themselves been workers, and 
from this the advocates of syndicalism infer, by a bold logical 
leap, that the policy of the leaders of working-class origin must 
necessarily coincide with the policy of the proletariat.^ 

The syndicalist leaders are to be, both in the intellectual and 
moral sense, chosen manual workers.* The leader of working- 
class origin is regarded as the Messiah who will cure all the ills 
of proletarian organization; he is, in any case, the best of all 
possible leaders.^ 

^ It was this consideration which led the Milanese labour party, in the 
year 1882 and subsequently, to decide that it would accept as members 
none but manual workers. (Cf. Michels, Eine exMusivistische Arheiter- 
partei in Italien im Jahre, 1882, ' ' Archiv f iir Sozialismus, ' ' Karl Griinberg, 
Vienna, anno i, fasc. 2, pp. 291 et seq. 

- Edouard Berth, Les nouveaux Aspects du Socialisme, Eiviere, Paris, 
1908, p. 30. 

^ Emile Pouget, Le Parti du Travail, Bibl. Syndicaliste, Paris, No. 3, 
p. 12. 

* Fernand PeUoutier, Histoire des Bourses du Travail, ed. cit., p. 86. 

° Among the great majority of the revisionist and reformist socialists we 
find a similar tendency to overestimate the importance of leaders of working- 
class origin. 


It is hardly necessary to point out that it is an illusion to 
imagine that by entrusting its affairs to proletarian leaders the 
proletariat will control these affairs more directly than if the 
leaders are lawj'ers or doctors. In both eases, all action is ef- 
fected through intermediaries. In the modern labour movement 
it is impossible for the leader to remain in actual fact a manual 
worker. Directly a trade union selects one of the comrades in 
the factory to minister regularly to the collective interests in 
return for a definite salary, this comrade is, consciously or not, 
lifted out of the working class into a new class, that of the sal- 
aried employees.*' The proletarian leader has ceased to be a 
manual worker, not solely in the material sense, but psychologi- 
cally and economically as well. It is not merely that he has 
ceased to quarry stones or to sole shoes, but that he has become 
an intermediary just as much as his colleagues in leadership, the 
lawyer and the doctor. In other words, as delegate and repre- 
sentative, the leader of proletarian origin is subject to exactly 
the same oligarchical tendencies as is the bourgeois refugee who 
has become a labour leader. The manual worker of former days 
is henceforward a declasse. 

Among all the leaders of the working class, it is the trade- 
union leaders who have been most sympatheticaly treated in the 
literature of the social sciences. This is very natural. Books are 
written by men of science and men of letters. Such persons 
are, as a rule, more favourably disposed towards the leaders of 
the trade-union movement than towards the leaders of the politi- 
cal labour movement, for the former do not, as do so often the 
latter, encroach upon the writer's field of activity, nor disturb 
his circle of ideas with new and intrusive theories. It is for 
this reason that often in the same learned volume we find praise 
of the trade-union leader side by side with blame of the socialist 

It has been claimed that service as buffers between employers 
and employed has led in the leaders to the development of ad- 
mirable and precious qualities; adroitness and scrupulousness, 
patience and energy, firmness of character and personal honesty. 
It has even been asserted that they are persons of an exception- 
ally chaste life, and this characteristic has been attributed to the 
comparative absence of sexual desires which, in accordance with 
the law of psychological compensation discovered by Guglielmo 
Ferrero, is supposed to ch aracterize all persons exceptionally de- 
"Cf. supra, p. 277, note 22, 


voted to duty.^ Two qualities in whicli most of the trade-union 
leaders unquestionably excel are objective gravity and individual 
good sense (often united with a lack of interest in and under- 
standing of wider problems), derived from the exceptionally 
keen sense they have of direct personal responsibility, and in 
part perhaps from the dry and predominantly technical and ad- 
ministrative quality of their occupations.^ The trade-union 
leaders have been deliberately contrasted with the verbal revo- 
lutionists who guide the political labour movement, men of the 
type of the loquacious Eabagas in Sardou's play, and, not with- 
out exaggeration, there has been ascribed to the former a sound 
political sense which is supposed to be lacking in the latter — an 
insight into the extraordinary complexity of social and economic 
life and a keen understanding of the politically practicable.^ 
The nucleus of truth which such observations contain is that 
the trade-union leaders (leaving out of consideration for the 

" Arturo Salueci, La Teoria dello Sciopero, Libr. Moderna, Genoa, 1902, p. 
151. Salueci goes so far as to affirm that while the trade-union leaders 
marry quite young, marriage is for them not so much a union for sexual 
purposes as a matter of "comfort to them in their lives of continual 
agitation." The analyses produced by many authors of the psychology of 
trade-union leaders remind us at times of the reports of travellers in 
foreign lands, who tell us of human beings altogether different from those 
with whom we are acquainted, and even of actions which appear utterly 
opposed to nature. Herein we have a criterion which leads us to doubt the 
trustworthiness of such reports, even when they are not adorned with stories 
of matters demonstrably false, as of dragons, centaurs, and other mythical 
monsters. (Cf. David Hume, Enquiries Concerning the Human Under- 
standing, ed. Clar. Press, edited by Selby-Bigge, Oxford, 1902, p. 84). 

The exaggeration which is so often manifested in the enumeration and 
description of the good qualities of the trade-union leaders can be explained 
on political grounds. It arises from the satisfaction felt in bourgeois circles 
with the practical tendencies of these leaders, and from the hope that is 
placed in them by the opponents of revolutionary socialism. 

*Even the opponents of such men in the labour movement do not deny 
what is said in the text. For instance, Ernesto Cesare Longobardi, in an 
article criticizing the tactics of the Italian General Confederation of Labour, 
admits that the members of the executive committee of this body display 
technical competence, familiarity with the problems of working-class life, 
and unremitting industry (La Crisi nelle Organissasioni operaie, "II Vian- 
dante," anno i. No. 29). 

'Werner Sombart, Dennoch! Aus Theorie u. GescJiichte der Gewerkschaft- 
UcJien ArTjeiterhewegung, Fischer, Jena, 1900, pp. 90-1; Salueci, La Teoria 
dello Sciopero, ed. cit., p. 152; Herkner, Die Art eiterf rage, ed. eit., p. 156; 
Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Industrial Democracy, ed. cit., p. 152; Paul de 
Eousiers, Le Trade-unionisme en Angleterre, Colin, Paris, 1897, p. 368; 
Eduard Bernstein, Die Arheiterbewegung , ed. cit., p. 147. 


present those of syndicalist tendency) differ in many respects 
from the leaders of political socialism. 

Among the trade-union leaders themselves, however, there are 
great differences, corresponding to the different phases of the 
trade-union movement. The qualities requisite for the leadership 
of an organization whose finances are still weak, and which de- 
votes itself chiefly to propaganda and strikes, must necessarily 
differ from those requisite for the leadership of a trade union 
supplying an abundance of solid benefits and aiming above all 
at peaceful practical results. In the former case the chief re- 
quisites are enthusiasm and the talents of the preacher. The 
work of the organizer is closely analogous to that of the rebel 
or the apostle. According to certain critics, these qualities may 
well be associated, above all in the early days of the proletarian 
movement, with the crassest ignorance.^" During this period, 
propaganda is chiefly romantic and sentimental, and its objective 
is moral rather than material. Very different is it when the 
movement is more advanced. The great complexity of the du- 
ties which the trade union has now to fulfil and the increasing 
importance assumed in the life of the union by financial, tech- 
nical, and administrative questions, render it necessary that the 
agitator should give place to the employee equipped with tech- 
nical knowledge. The commercial traveller in the class struggle 
is replaced by the strict and prosaic bureaucrat, the fervent 
idealist by the cold materialist, the democrat whose convictions 
are (at least in theory) absolutely firm by the conscious autocrat. 
Oratorical activity passes into the background, for administra- 
tive aptitudes are now of the first importance. Consequently, in 
this new period, while the leadership of the movement is less 
noisy, less brilliant^ and less glorious, it is of a far more solid 
character, established upon a much sounder practical compe- 
tence. The leaders are now differentiated from the mass of their 
followers, not only by their personal qualities as specialists en- 
dowed with insight and mastery of routine, but in addition by 
the barrier of the rules and regulations which guide their own 
actions and with the aid of which they control the rank and file. 
The rules of the German federation of metal-workers occupy 
forty-seven printed pages and are divided into thirty-nine para- 
graphs, each consisting of from ten to twelve sections." Where 

" Fausto Pagliari, Le Organizzasioni e i loro Impiegati, ed. eit., p. 6. 
" Herkner, Die Arheiterfrage, ed. cit., p. 116. — It may be noted that the 
abundance of rules and regulations is one of the historical causes of the 


is the workman who would not lose himself in such a labyrinth ? 
The modern trade-union official, above all if he directs a federa- 
tion, must have precise knowledge of a given branch of industry, 
and must know how at any moment to form a sound estimate of 
the comparative forces of his own organization and the adver- 

He must be equally well acquainted with the technical and 
with the economic side of the industry. He must know the 
cost of manufacture of the commodities concerned, the source 
and cost of the raw materials, the state of the markets, the 
wages and conditions of the workers in different regions. He 
must possess the talents at once of a general and those of a 

These excellent qualities of the trade-union leader are not 
always compatible with the democratic regime, and indeed they 
often conflict unmistakably with the conditions of this regime. 

It is especially in the ex-manual worker that the love of power 
manifests itself with the greatest intensity. Having just suc- 
ceeded in throwing off the chains he wore as a wage-labourer and 
a vassal of capital, he is least of all disposed to indue new chains 
which will bind him as a slave of the masses. Like all freed- 
men, he has a certain tendency to abuse his newly acquired free- 
dom — a tendency to libertinage. In all countries we learn from 
experience that the working-class leader of proletarian origin is 
apt to be capricious and despotic. He is extremely loath to tol- 
erate contradiction. This trait is doubtless partly dependent 
upon his character as parvenu, for it is in the nature of the 
parvenu to maintain his authority with extreme jealousy, to 
regard all criticism as an attempt to humiliate him and to 
diminish his importance, as a deliberate and ill-natured allusion 
to his past. Just as the converted Jew dislikes references to his 
Hebrew birth, so also the labour leader of proletarian origin 

distance which has been established between the class of employees and the 
mass. Colbert tells us that the French bureaucracy was born out of the 
mania for codification. "Son oppression devint inquiete, diffuse, minu- 
tieuse, et se perdit dans une telle generation de reglements que, par exemple, 
le seul code des marchands de bois de Paris egale en volume tout le Corps 
du Droit Eomain" (Lemontey, Essai sur I'Etdblissement monarcMque de 
Louis XIV, ed. cit., p. 339). — Enough has been said to enable us to judge 
the value of the opinion sometimes expressed (cf. Oetors, De CatecTiismAis 
van den Werhman, ed. cit., p. 21) that the problem of trade-union organiza- 
tion is so simple that any workman can master it. 
^C. Pagliari, Le Organissasioni, etc., ed. cit., p. 7, 


dislikes any references to his state of dependence and his posi- 
tion as an employee. 

Nor must it be forgotten that, like all self-made men^, the 
trade-union leader is intensely vain. Although he commonly 
possesses extensive knowledge of material details, he lacks gen- 
eral culture and a wide philosophical view,^^ and is devoid of 
the secure self-confidence of the born leader; for these reasons 
he is apt to show himself less resistant than he should be towards 
the interested and amiable advances of bourgeois notables. In 
a letter to Sorge, Engels wrote of England : ^* " The most re- 
pulsive thing in this country is the bourgeois 'respectability' 
which has invaded the very blood and bone of the workers. The 
organization of society into firmly established hierarchical grada- 
tions, in which each one has his proper pride, but also an inborn 
respect for his 'betters' and 'superiors,' is taken so much as a 
matter of course, is so ancient and traditional, that it is com- 
paratively easy for the bourgeois to play the part of seducers. 
For example, I am by no means sure that John Burns is not 
prouder in the depths of his soul of his popularity with Car- 
dinal Manning, the Lord Mayor, and the bourgeoisie in general, 
than of his popularity among his own class. Even Tom Mann, 
whom I regard as the best of these leaders of working-class 
origin, is glad to talk of how he went to lunch with the Lord 

In Germany, one of the few "class-conscious" German 
workers who have come into personal contact with William 
II did not venture in the royal presence to give expression to 
his convictions or to manifest his fidelity to the principles of 

^ The twilight of culture which has been dispersed through the proletariat 
through the participation of modern workers in politics and in iutellectual 
discussions bearing upon political life, often produces in the minds of such 
persons an attitude which Sombart rather unhappily terms "dogmatism" 
(Werner Sombart, Das Proletariat, Eiitten u. Loeniag, Frankfort-on-the 
Main, 1906, p. 84), but one which is certainly not apt to contribute to 
freedom of the spirit. It is very natural that this should be so. The share 
of culture which the modern working man has won for himself at an 
incredible cost of physical and mental energy necessarily seems to him 
(who lacks leisure and adequate preliminary knowledge to make a good 
use of what he has learned, and who lacks the ability to control the ac- 
curacy of his own mental acquirements) a noli me tangere, an invaluable 
treasure, which must be relentlessly and zealously guarded against all 
criticism (his own or another's) precisely because it has been won by so 
much labour. 

^"^ Brief e und Ausziige, etc., ed. cit., pp. 324-5. 


his party.^^ There already exists in the proletariat an extensive 
stratum consisting of the directors of cooperative societies, the 
secretaries of trade unions, the trusted leaders of various or- 
ganizations, whose psychology is entirely modelled upon that of 
the bourgeois classes with whom they associate.^^ 

The new environment exercises a potent influence upon the 
ex-manual worker. His manners become gentler and more re- 
fined.^^ In his daily association with persons of the highest 
birth he learns the usages of good society and endeavours to as- 
similate them. Not infrequently the working-class deputies en- 
deavour to mask the change which has occurred. The socialist 
leaders, and the same is true of the democratic-Christians and 
the trade-union leaders, if of working-class origin, when speak- 
ing to the masses like to describe themselves as working men. 
By laying stress upon their origin, upon the characteristics 
they share with the rank and file, they ensure a good reception 
and inspire affection and confidence. During the elections of 
1848 in France it was the mode for candidates to speak of them- 
selves as ouvriers. This was not simply a title of honour, but 
also a title which helped to success. No less than twenty-one of 
these ouvriers thus secured election. The real signification of 

^"Arbeiterzeitung" of Dortmund, September 16, 1903: "In the year 
1900, the representatives of the Imperial Insurance Institute were com- 
manded to an audience at the court, on the occasion of the inauguration of 
the new administrative building in Berlin, The stucco-worker Buchholz, 
well known in trade-union circles, was present with his colleagues. Buchholz, 
who was wearing the iron cross, attracted the personal attention of William 
II. The king was apparently aware of Buchholz 's position as a socialist, 
and said: 'I believe the socialists are all opponents of the monarchy?' 
Buchholz promptly answered: 'No, Your Majesty, not all! ' " 

" The princes of the ancien regime, being profound psychologists, knew 
better than the socialists of to-day how to value at its worth the influence 
of environment upon personality. In the political testament of Augustus 
II of Saxony, King of Poland, we find a remarkable passage in which he 
recommended his successor to change ambassadors frequently, for they were 
apt to accommodate themselves to the interests of the court to which they 
were accredited, and to allow themselves to be overcome by the influences 
of their new environment (Paul Haake, Ein PolitiscTies Testament Konig 
Augusts der StarTcen, "Historische Zeitsehrif t, " Ixxxvii, fasc. 1, p. 7), 

*' ' ' Among the fifty-eight socialist deputies, there are at least thirty who 
come from the factory or the workshop and whose natural temperamental 
energy has never been chastened by the discipline of the drawing-room; it 
should certainly give occasion for astonishment to the bourgeois that they 
are almost invariably well-behaved, that they hardly ever break the con- 
ventions" (Maximilian Harden, "Zukunft," anno x, No. 2, December 6, 


this title may be learned from a study of the list of candidates 
presented by the modern socialist party in France, Italy, and 
elsewhere; here we find that a master-tinsmith (a man who 
keeps a shop and is therefore a petty bourgeois) describes him- 
self as a "tinker," and so on. It even happens that the same 
candidate wiU describe himself as a workman in an electoral ad- 
dress intended for working-class readers, and as an employer in 
an appeal to the bourgeoisie. When they have entered Parlia- 
ment, some of the ex-manual workers continue, more or less os- 
tentatiously, to differentiate themselves by their dress from 
their bourgeois colleagues. But it is not by such external signs 
of a proletarian origin that they can hope to prevent the internal 
change, which was described by Jaures (before his own adhesion 
to socialism) in the following terms: "Les deputes ouvriers qui 
arrivent au Parlement s 'embourgeoisent vite, au mauvais sens du 
mot ; ils perdent leur seve et leur energie premiere, et il ne leur 
reste plus qu'une sorte de sentimentalite de tribune."^® 

Inspired with a foolish self-satisfaction, the ex-worker is apt 
to take pleasure in his new environment, and he tends to become 
indifferent and even hostile to all progressive aspirations in the 
democratic sense. He accommodates himself to the existing 
order, and ultimately, weary of the struggle, becomes even rec- 
onciled to that order.^^ What interest for them has now the 
dogma of the social revolution? Their own social revolution 
has already been effected. At bottom, all the thoughts of these 
leaders are concentrated upon the single hope that there shall 
long continue to exist a proletariat to choose them as its dele- 
gates and to provide them with a livelihood.^" Consequently 

"Jean Jaures, "Depeche de Toulouse," November 12, 1887, 
"Max Weber, a few years ago, advised the German princes, if they 
wished to appease their terrors of socialism, to spend a day on the 
platform at a socialist congress, so that they might convince them- 
selves that in the whole crowd of assembled revolutionists "the 
dominant type of expression was that of the petty bourgeois, of the 
self-satisfied innkeeper," and that there was no trace of genuine revo- 
lutionary enthusiasm (Max Weber's speech at the Magdeburg congress 
of the Verein fiir Sozialpolitik, stenographic report of the sitting, 
October 2, 1907). 

«> Madeleine Pelletier {La Fin du Guesdisme, "Guerre Sociale," iii, 
No. 4), writing of the evolution of the French labour leaders, says: 
"Mais I'age, la maladie, etaient venus et I'anenergie avec eux. Autour 
du Maitre s 'etaient formes des centaines d'eleves que la lutte des 
classes avaient fait deputes, conseillers generaux et municipaux, maires, 
secretaires de mairie et qui, enchantes de I'aubaine, songeaient, sana 


they contend that what is above all necessary is to organize, to 
organize unceasingly, and that the cause of the workers will 
not gain the victory until the last worker has been enrolled in 
the organization. Like all the heati possidentes, they are poor 
fighters. They incline, as in England, to a theory in accordance 
with which the workers and the capitalists are to be united in a 
kind of league, and to share, although still unequally, in the 
profits of a common enterprise. Thus the wages of the la- 
bourers become dependent upon the returns of the business. This 
doctrine, based upon the principle of what is known as the 
sliding-scale, throws a veil over all existing class-antagonisms 
and impresses upon labour organizations a purely mercantile 
and technical stamp. If a struggle becomes inevitable, the 
leader undertakes prolonged negotiations with the enemy; the 
more protracted these negotiations, the more often is his name 
repeated in the newspapers and by the public. If he con- 
tinues to express "reasonable opinions," he may be sure of 
securing at once the praise of his opponents and (in most cases) 
the admiring gratitude of the crowd. 

Personal egoism, pusillanimity, and baseness are often as- 
sociated with a fund of good sense and wide knowledge, and so 
intimately associated that a distinction of the good qualities 
from the bad becomes a difficult matter. The hotheads, who 
are not lacking among the labour leaders of proletarian origin, 
become cool. They have acquired a conscientious conviction 
that it would be a mistake to pursue an aggressive policy, 
which would in their view not merely fail to bring any profit, 
but would endanger the results hitherto attained. Thus in most 
cases two orders of motives are in operation, the egoistic and 
the objective, working hand in hand. The resultant of these 
influences is that state of comparative calm proper to the labour 
leader, regarding which an employee of one of the trade unions 
has expressed himself with great frankness: "It is no matter 
for reproach, but is perfectly comprehensible, that when we 
were all still working at the bench and had to get along as 
best we could with our small wages, we had a keener personal 
interest in a speedy change of the existing social order than 
we have in our present conditions. ' ' ^^ Such a state of mind will 

oser I'avouer, que le besoin d'une revolution sociale ne se faisait plus aussi 
vivement son tir qu'au temps ou ils gagnaient cent sous par jour." 

=^Kloth, leader of the bookbinders' union, speaking at the conference 
of the trade-union executives in Berlin, 1906 {ProtoTcoll, p. 10). In the 


be yet further reinforced if the former manual worker should be, 
as he often is, engaged in journalistic work. Although in most 
cases he will with admirable diligence have amassed a con- 
siderable amount of knowledge, he has not had the necessary 
preliminary training to enable him to assemble, re-elaborate, 
and assimilate the elements of his knowledge to constitute a 
scientific doctrine, or even to create for himself a system of 
directive ideas. Consequently his personal inclinations towards 
quietism cannot be neutralized, as unquestionably happens in 
the case of many Marxists, by the preponderant energy of a 
comprehensive theory, Marx long ago recognized this defect in 
proletarian leaders, saying: ''When the workers abandon 
manual labour to become professional writers, they almost al- 
ways make a mess of the theoretical side. ' ' ^^ 

"We see, then, that the substitution of leaders of proletarian 
origin for those of bourgeois origin offers the working-class 
movement no guarantee, either in theory or in practice, against 
the political or moral infidelity of the leaders. In 1848, when 
the elections ordered by the provisional government took place 
in France, eleven of the deputies who entered the Chamber 
were members of the working class. No less than ten of these 
promptly abandoned the labour programme on the strength of 
which they had been elected.^^ A yet more charactertistic ex- 
ample is furnished by the history of the leaders of the Italian 
branch of the International (1868-79). Here the leaders, who 
were for the most part derived from the bourgeoisie and the 
nobility, nearly all showed themselves to be persons of dis- 
tinguished worth. The only two exceptions were men of work- 
ing-class origin. Stefano Caporusso, who spoke of himself as 
*'the model workingman," embezzled the funds of the socialist 
group of Naples, of which he was the president; while Carlo 
Terzaghi, president of the section of Turin, turned out to be 
a police spy and was expelled from the party .^* Speaking gen- 
erally, we learn from the history of the labour movement that a 
socialist party is exposed to the influence of the political en- 

Protol-oll it is here noted that there were vigorous cries of objection, 
and also the remark, "What you say applies still more to the employees 
of the socialist party." (Cf. supra, p. 146.) 

»* Letter to Sorge, October 19, 1877, Brief e u. Auszuge, etc., ed. 
cit., p. 159, 

"Arthur Arnould, Eistoire populaire et parlementaire de la Com- 
mune de Paris, Kistemaekers, Brussels, 1878, vol. ii, p. 43. 

^ Cf . Michels, Froletariato et Borghesia, etc., ed, cit., pp. 72 et seq. 


vironment in proportion to the degree in wMcli it is genuinely 
proletarian in character. The first deputy of the Italian socialist 
party (which at that time consisted exclusively of manual work- 
ers), Antonio MafS, a type-founder, elected to parliament in 
1882, speedily joined one of the bourgeois sections of the left, 
declaring that his election as a working man did not make it 
necessary for him to set himself in opposition to the other 
classes of society.^^ In France, the two men who under the 
Second Empire had been the leaders of the Proudhonists, Henri 
Louis Tolain, the engraver, and Fribourg, the compositor, and 
who at the first international congress in Geneva (1866) had 
urgently advocated an addition to the rules to effect the ex- 
clusion of all intellectuals and bourgeois from the organization, 
when the Commune was declared in 1871 ranged themselves on 
the side of Thiers, and were therefore expelled from the In- 
ternational as traitors. It may be added that Tolain ended his 
career as a senator under the conservative republic. Odger, 
the English labour leader, a member of the general council of 
the International, abandoned this body after the insurrection 
in Paris. It is true that he was in part influenced in this 
direction by his objection to the dictatorial methods of Marx. 
But Marx could rejoin, not without reason, that Odger had 
wished merely to make use of the International to acquire the 
confidence of the masses, and that he was ready to turn his 
back upon socialism as soon as it seemed to him an obstacle to 
his political career. A similar case was that of Lucraft, also 
on the general council of the International, who secured an 
appointment as school inspector under the British government.^^ 
In a word, it may said that when the forces of the workers are 
led against the bourgeoisie by men of working-class origin, 
the attack is always less vigorous and conducted in a way less 
accordant with the alleged aims of the movement than when the 
leaders of the workers spring from some other class. A French 
critic, referring to the political conduct of the working-class 
leaders of the proletariat, declares that alike intellectually and 
morally they are inferior to the leaders of bourgeois origin, 
lacking the education and the culture which these possess. The 
same writer declares that the behaviour of many of the leaders 
of working-class origin cannot fail to contribute to the intensive 

** Alfredo Angiolini, Cinquent'anni di Socialismo in Italia, ed. cit., 
pp. 180-6. 
^Gr. Jaeckh, Die Internationale, ed. cit,, p. 152. 


culture of anti-parliamentarist tendencies. ''Apres le regne de 
la feodalite, nous avons eu le regne de la bourgeoisie. Apres le 
bourgeois, aurons-nous le contremaitre ? — Notre ennemi, c'est 
notre maitre, a dit La Fontaine. Mais le maitre le plus redout- 
able, e 'est eelui qui sort de nos rangs et qui, a force de mensonges 
et de roublardises, a su s 'elever jusqu 'au pouvoir. ' ' ^'^ 

It was hoped that the energetic entry of the proletariat upon 
the world-stage would have an ethically regenerative influence, 
that the new elements would exercise a continuous and un- 
wearied control over the public authorities, and that (endowed 
with a keen sense of responsibility) they would strictly control 
the working of their own organizations. These anticipations 
have been disappointed by the oligarchical tendencies of the 
workers themselves. As Cesare Lombroso pointed out without 
contradiction in an article published in the central organ of 
the Italian socialist party, the more the proletariat approxi- 
mates to the possession of the power and the wealth of the 
bourgeoisie, the more does it adopt all the vices of its opponent 
and the more does it become an instrument of corruption. 
* ' Then there arise all those subdivisions of our so-called popular 
parties, which have all the vices of the bourgeois parties, which 
claim and often possess a prestige among the people, and which 
easily become the tools of governmental corruption sailing un- 
der liberal colours in their name. ' ' ^® We have sufficient ex- 
amples in European history, even in that of very recent date, 
of the manner in which the artificial attempt to retain the 
party leadership in proletarian hands has led to a political 
misoneism against which the organized workers of all countries 
have every reason to be on their guard. The complaint so 
frequently voiced by the rank and file of the socialists that 
almost all the defects of the movement arise from the flooding 
of the proletarian party with bourgeois elements are merely 
the outcome of ignorance of the historical characteristics of the 
period through which we are now passing. 

="Flax (Victor Merie), Coutant (d'lvry), ''Hommes du Jour," Paris, 
908, No. 32. 

^Cesare Lombroso, I Frutti di un Voto, "Avanti," No. 2987 (AprU 
27, 1905). The criminologist Eaffaele Garofalo prophesies that the 
protelariat will follow in the footsteps of the bourgeoisie, "that tiers etat 
which was to substitute its youthful energies for a decadent and degen- 
erate aristocracy," but which instead of doing this "has displayed a 
hundred-fold the defects and the corruption of its predecessors" (Garo- 
falo, La Superstisione socialista, Turin, 1894, p. 178). 


The leaders of the democratic parties do not present every- 
where the same type, for the complex of tendencies by which 
they are influenced necessarily varies in accordance with en- 
vironment, national character, climate, historical tradition, etc. 

The United States of America is the land of the almighty 
dollar. In no other country in the world does public life seem 
to be dominated to the same extent by the thirst for gold. The 
unrestricted power of capital necessarily involves corruption. 
In America, however, this corruption is not merely exhibited 
upon a gigantic scale, but, if we are to believe American 
critics, has become a recognized institution.^" Whilst in Europe 
such corruption gives rise to censure and anger, in America it is 
treated with indifference or arouses no more than an indulgent 
smile. Lecky declares that if we were to judge the Americans 
solely by the manner in which they conduct themselves in 
public life, our judgments would be extremely unfavourable — 
and unjust.^" 

We cannot wonder, then, that North America should be pre- 
eminently the country in which the aristocratic tendencies of 
the labour leaders, fostered by an environment often permeated, 
as has just been explained, by a gross and unrefined materialism, 

'* The extent to which, in the States, corruption has progressed among 
the representatives of the people would seem to be displayed by a news- 
item recently circulated in the principal European papers. In this 
we were told that a society had been formed in Washington, known as 
the "Private Secretaries' Union," which was to protect its members 
against being plundered by the American popular representatives. The 
members of the House of Eeprescntatives are paid, in addition to their 
salary of $7,500 a year, a sum of $1,500 for a secretary. The congress- 
men receive this supplement personally, but must furnish documentary 
proof that the amount is paid over to a secretary. Many of these states- 
men, being of a thrifty disposition, engage a shorthand writer for the 
session at a fee of $500, and pocket the balance. Others install relatives 
of their own as private secretaries, so that all the money shall be kept in 
the family. Another arrangement is for five of the congressmen to combine 
to employ a common secretary, who receives $3,000 a year, but each of 
the five employers clears $900 by the transaction. Thus there are numerous 
variations, but in any case the private secretary fails to secure all the 
fruits of his labour. 

^"W. E. H. Lecky, Democracy and Liberty, ed. cit., vol. i, pp. 113-14. 
According to Eobert Clarkson Brooks (Corruption in American Politics and 
Life, Dodd Mead & Co., New York, 1910, p. 54), the corruption existing 
in the States is merely the expression of the higher moral level of public 
life: "If monarchies are less corrupt than democracies, it is also true 
that monarchies do not repose so much faith in the fundamental honesty 
of their citizens as do democracies." 


should have developed freely and upon a gigantic scale. The 
leaders of the American proletariat have merely followed the 
lead of the capitalism by which the life of their country is 
dominated. The consequence is that their party life has also 
become essentially plutocratic.^^ When they have secured an 
improved rate of wages and similar advantages, the officials of 
the trade unions, wearing evening dress, meet the employers in 
sumptuous banquets. At congresses it is the custom to offer 
foreign delegates, and even their wives, valuable gifts, jewellery, 
etc. The special services of the leaders are rewarded by in- 
creases of salary, which sometimes attain considerable figures. 
We learn from indisputable authority that many of the labour 
leaders, and especially of the trade-union leaders, regard their 
positions simply as a means for personal advancement. Ac- 
cording to the testimony of the well-informed, the American 
working class has hitherto produced few leaders of whom it 
has any reason to be proud. Many of them shamelessly and 
unscrupulously exploit for personal ends the posts which they 
have secured through the confidence of their fellow-workmen. 
Taken as a whole, the American labour leaders have been 
described as ' ' stupid and cupid. ' ' ^^ We owe to Gaylord Wil- 
shire, himself also an American and a socialist, the following 
unflattering picture of the socialist leader: "He is a man who 
often expresses a social dissatisfaction based upon personal 
failure. He is very apt to be loud rather than profound. He 
is, as a rule, not an educated man, and his demands and urgings 
are based too often on ignorance. ' ' ^^ Intelligent and honest 
workmen are consequently repelled from the labour organiza- 
tions or induced to follow false paths. We have even been told 
that not a few labour leaders are altogether in the hands of 
the capitalists. Being uneducated parvenus, they are extremely 
sensible to flattery,^* but this seems to be among the least of 
their defects. In many cases they are no more than paid 
servants of capital. The "Union Officer" then becomes a 

^In 1909 the congress of the American labour organizations made 
a special grant of $4,000 each to Gompers, Morrison, and Mitchell, who 
had been condemned by the Supreme Court for offences connected with 
the labour movement. 

^^ Austin Lewis, The Eise of the American Proletariat, ed. cit., p. 

'= Gaylord Wilshire, Wilshire Editorials, Wilshire Book Co., New York, 
1906, p. 140. 

^^ Austin Lewis, op. cit., p. 202. 


"boss" in the hands of the enemy, a ''scab" or, to use a still 
more significant American expression, "a, labour lieutenant of 
the capitalist class." ^^ It is from the socialists themselves that 
we learn almost incredible details regarding certain categories 
of American workers who have achieved a privileged position, 
but who are utterly devoid of moral sense. Among the best 
organized unions there are some which enter into regular treaties 
with the capitalists in their respective branches of industry 
in order to exploit the consumer and to effect with the capitalist 
a friendly division of the spoil.^® In other cases, the leaders 
of a federation of trade unions, bribed by one group of em- 
ployers, will organize strikes among the employees of another 
group. On the other hand, many strikes which are progressing 
favourably for the workers come abruptly to an end because 
the employers have made it worth the leaders' while to call 
the strike off. The absence of socialist tendencies among the 
American workers, their lack of class consciousness, have been 
noted with admiration by distinguished writers and leading 
members of the employing class, who praise these workers for 
their exceptional intelligence, and hold them up as examples 
to the degenerate and lazy European working men.^'^ Yet these 
same intelligent American workers are led by the nose by such 
men as we have been describing, and appear to be the only 
ones who fail to notice the misdeeds of the labour leaders. In- 
deed, they favour these misdeeds by refusing to work at the 
same bench with those of their comrades who, more perspicacious 
than themselves, have attracted the enmity of the leaders by 
discovering and unmasking the frauds of the latter.^^ 

The history of the organized working class in North America 
certainly rivals, in respect of the frequent occurrence of cor- 
ruption, the history of a part of the capitalist class in the 
same country. A historian of the American labour movement 
exclaims: "It is in both cases a sordid and dreary tale and, 
in the case of organized labour, is unrelieved to a disappointing 
degree by the heroism and sentiment which have played such 

^^ Daniel De Leon, The Burning Question of Trades-Unionism, ed. eit., 
pp. 10-12, 41-43. 

^^ George D. Herron, The Day of Judgment, Kerr, Chicago, 1904, p. 17. 
— See also Werner Sombart, Warum gibt es in den Vereinigten Staaten 
Tceinen Sozialismus?, ed. cit., p. 33. 

*'Cf., for example, E. Cauderlier, L'Evolution economique du XIX 
siecle, Brussels, 1903, p. 209. 

^De Leon, ed. cit., p. 12. 


a conspicTious part in tlie labour movements of other countries. 
The cynicism of a civilization based on cash seems to have 
found its way into the bones of both capitalist and proletarian.^^ 
The American labour movement is the purest in respect of its 
proletarian composition and is at the same time the richest in 
examples of social perversion. Side by side with the vulgar 
and interested corruption to which we have referred, there 
exists, indeed, a corruption which arises from idealism, and 
the latter must not be confused with the former. It some- 
times happens that the leader allows himself to be induced by 
pecuniary considerations to attack a given party, the money 
being furnished by other parties or by the government. That 
he should do this presupposes, indeed, that his point of view 
regarding money is non olet; but he acts as he does exclusively 
in the interest of his party, and not a penny of the money he 
receives goes into his own pocket. An American political econ- 
omist has justly pointed out that such corruption sometimes 
involves a heroic capacity for self-sacrifice on the part of the 
leader who, to secure advantages for the party with the foreign 
money, faces the fiercest attacks and the worst suspicions, and 
even, if need be, accepts his own political annihilation. He 
offers up his honour to the party, the greatest sacrifice that 
a man of honour can make.*" Of this kind, for example, is 
the corruption of which the leaders of the political labour move- 
ment have frequently been accused by the liberals, namely, 
when they have accepted money from the conservatives or from 
the government in order to fight liberals or radicals. There 
are not a few instances of this kind in the history of the inter- 
national labour movement. Thus, in England, during the gen- 
eral election of 1885, the leaders of the Social Democratic 
Federation, in order to run two candidates in metropolitan 
constituencies, accepted money from the tory party, whose aim 
it was to split the votes of its opponents, and thus to secure the 
defeat of the liberal candidates ; *^ the sum payable in this 
case was determined by the number of votes given to the 
socialist candidate, £8 for every. vote.*^ Similarly, Constantino 

®' Austin Lewis, op. cit., p. 196. 

*°Eobert Clarkson Brooks, op. cit., pp. 65 et seq. 

*^Steginaiin and Hugo [Lindemann] , Handbuch des Soz., ed. cit., p. 

*^ Bernard Shaw, The Fabian Society: What it has done: How it has 
done it, Fabian Society, Lond., 1892, p. 6. 


Lazzari, leader of the Milanese labour party, accepted from 
the government the sum of 500 lire to carry on an electoral 
struggle against the bourgeois radicals.*^ In Germany, the 
conduct of Schweitzer during the last years in which he was 
president of the Allgemeine Deutsche Arbeiterverein, conduct 
which led to accusations of corruption in which Bebel joined, 
appears to have been dictated by similar considerations. Such 
at least is the impression produced by a perusal of the various 
references to the matter made by Gustav Mayer.** In none of 
these cases is it fair to accuse the party leaders of personal 
corruption, since the money was not accepted for personal ends 
but for the supposed advantage of the party. "Whether such 
procedures are politically wise, whether they make for the 
general advance of political morality, are different questions. 
Indubitably their influence on the mentality of the masses is 
not educational in a good sense. They are, moreover, especially 
dangerous to the leaders' own morale. Corruption for honour- 
able motives is likely to be succeeded by corruption for dis- 
honourable. If the method were to be accepted as a regular 
and legitimate element of party politics, it would be easy for 
able but unscrupulous leaders to put a portion of the price of 
corruption into their own pockets, and yet to remain more 
''useful" to the party than their disinterested and conscien- 
tious colleagues.*^ This would be the beginning of the end, 
and would open the door to plutocracy in the party. 

It cannot be said that the English labour leaders are in these 
respects greatly superior to the American, although in England, 
perhaps, corruption assumes a more subtle and less obvious form. 
At the Amsterdam congress (1906) Bebel related in a private 
conversation what Marx and Engels had said to him once in 
London: "English socialism would certainly be far more 
advanced than it is to-day had not the capitalists been clever 
enough to check the movement by corrupting its leaders. ' ' *" 
Hyndman, the leader of the English Marxists, a man of bour- 
geois origin who sacrificed a diplomatic career for the sake 

*' Alfredo Angiolini, Cinquant'anni di Socialismo in Italia, Nerbini, 
Florence, 1900, 1st ed., p. 135. 

** Gustav Mayer, J. B. Schweitzer, ed. cit., pp. 129, 161, 181, 195, 321, 

*° Cf . also E. C. Brooks, op. cit., p. 66 : and supra, note 12, p. 231. 

*® Daniel De Leon, Flashlights of the Amsterdam Congress, Labour 
News Co., New York, 1906, p. 41. 


of socialism, relates in his memoirs that many of the working- 
class leaders, and among these the most energetic and the most 
gifted, after having acquired a genuine political culture with 
the aid of socialists of bourgeois origin, have not hesitated to 
sell this new acquirement to the bourgeoisie. Nor do the 
workers themselves complain of this, for, full of admiration 
for what they call the cleverness of their leaders, they have 
by their votes rendered possible the gradual rise of these in 
public life.*^ Another writer well acquainted with the Eng- 
lish labour movement declares: "A prominent labour leader 
remarked recently that the labour movement was a charnel- 
house of broken reputations. That puts it too strongly, but, 
in essence, how true ! " *® 

Thus in the United States, and also, though to a less degree, 
in England, there exists a peculiar category of working-class 
leaders of proletarian origin. Among these there are unques- 
tionably to be found many men of strong character, and many 
who are uninfluenced by selfish considerations, although but 
few who take lofty views, who are endowed with a fine theo- 
retical insight, or capacity for coherent political work and the 
avoidance of opportunities for error. Most of them are excel- 
lent organizers and technicians. But apart from these some- 
what exceptional categories, there can be no doubt that many 
of the labour leaders are half-educated and arrogant egoists. 
We might almost imagine that Diderot had a premonition of 
such individuals when he made his ambitious Parisian beggar, 
Lumpazius, say: "Je serai comme tons les gueux revetus. Je 
serai le plus insolent maroufle qu'on eut encore vu."*^ 

"H. M. Hyndman, The Becord of an Adventurous Life, Macmillan, 
London, 1911, p. 433. 

*«S. G. Hobson, Boodle and Cant, loe. cit., p. 588. 

*» Diderot, Le Neveu de Bameau, Delarue, Paris, 1877, p. 44. 



In the early days of the labour movement the bourgeois intel- 
lectuals who adhered to the cause of the workers were regarded 
by these with profound esteem; but as the movement matured 
the attitude of the proletariat became transformed into one of 
undue criticism. This antipathy on the part of the rank and 
file of the socialists is based upon false presuppositions, and 
proceeds from two antithetical points of view. Some, like the 
group of the *'Neue Zeit" and the "Leipzige Volkszeitung" in 
Germany, with the support of the revolutionary-minded work- 
ers of Berlin, of the two Saxonies, and of Rhenish Westphalia, 
persisting in the maintenance of intransigent revolutionary 
conceptions, think themselves justified in accusing the intel- 
lectuals of a tendency to "take the edge off" the labour move- 
ment, to "water it down," to give it "bourgeois" characteristics, 
to rob it of proletarian virility, and to inspire it with an 
opportunist spirit of compromise. The others, the reformists, 
the revisionists, who find inconvenient the continued reminder 
principiis dhsta! with which they are assailed by the revolu- 
tionists, in their turn attack the intellectuals,^ regarding 
them as meddlesome intruders, fossilized professors, and 
so on, as persons who are utterly devoid of any sound 
ideas of the labour movement and of its necessities, dis- 
turbing its normal course with their ideas of the study. 
Thus whilst the first group of critics regard the intellectuals as 
being for the most part reformists, bourgeois-minded socialists 
of the extreme right, the other group of critics classes the in- 
tellectuals as ultra-revolutionary, as anarchizing socialists of 

^Sometimes, even, when these belong to their own tendency. Thus 
Eduard Bernstein was attacked by the German trade-union leaders at 
the trade-union congress of Cologne on account of his theory of the 
general strike, being treated as an incompetent and uninvited intruder. 



the extreme left. In Italy, towards 1902, the intellectuals 
found themselves placed between two fires. On one side the 
reformists claimed to represent the healthy proletarian energy 
of the economic organizations of the peasants as against the 
circoletti amhizioseUi ("the self-seeking petty circles" — i.e. 
socialist groups in the towns), which were composed for the 
most part, so they affirmed, of bourgeois and petty bourgeois. 
On the other side, the revolutionists of the "Avanguardia 
Socialista" group entered the lists against the employees and 
the bourgeois leaders, in the name of the class-conscious prole- 
tariat of industrial workers. Thus by both factions alike the 
intellectuals were treated as scapegoats and made responsible 
for all the mistakes and sins of the party.^ But both sides are 
wrong. Above all it is hardly possible to imagine the reasons 
which would induce refugees from the bourgeoisie to adhere 
to the extreme right wing of the working-class party. It is 
rather the adverse thesis which might be sustained by psycho- 
logical and historical arguments which are good but not de- 

1. Let us first consider the psychological arguments. Kaut- 
sky, referring to a period when "even by educated persons 
socialism was stigmatized as criminal or insane" (a period 
which Kautsky wrongly imagines to have passed away), makes 
the judicious observation that the bourgeois who adheres to the 
socialist cause needs more firmness of character, stronger revo- 
lutionary passion, and greater force of conviction, than the 
proletarian who takes a similar step.^ The violent internal and 
external struggles, the days full of bitterness and the nights 
without sleep during which his socialist faith has ripened, 
have combined to produce in the socialist of bourgeois origin, 
especially if he be derived from the higher circles of the 
bourgeoisie, an ardour and a tenacity which are rarely en- 
countered among proletarian socialists. He has broken com- 
pletely with the bourgeois world, and henceforward confronts it 
as a mortal enemy, as one irreconcilable a priori. The conse- 
quence is that, in the struggle with the bourgeoisie, the socialist 

»Cf. Michels, II Proletariato, etc., ed. cit., pp. 357 et seq. Cf. also, 
&3 regards France, the articles of Charles Eappoport in the "Neue Zeit" 
during the years 1909-10-11. 

'Karl Kautsky, Die Soziale devolution. 1. SoziaJreform u. Sosiale 
devolution, "Vorwarts," Berlin, 1902, p. 27; also Bepublilc u. SosiaUemo- 
cratie in FranTcreicli, "Neue Zeit," xdii, No. 11, p. 333. 


intellectual will incline towards the most revolutionary ten- 

There is, however, another reason which leads the ex-bourgeois 
to make common cause with the intransigent socialists, and 
this is his knowledge of history and his intimate acquaintance 
with the nature of the bourgeoisie. To the proletarian socialist 
it is often difficult to form any precise idea of the power of 
his adversaries and to learn the nature of the means at their 
disposal for the struggle.^ Often, too, he is inspired with an 
ingenuous admiration for the benevolent attempts at social 
reform patronized by certain strata of the bourgeoisie. Faced 
by the more or less serious or more or less deceitful offer of 
panaceas, he is often in the position of the peasant at the fair 
who listens open-mouthed while the quack vaunts the miraculous 
virtue of his remedies.*' Conversely the socialist of bourgeois 
origin will interpret more precisely the efforts made by the 
bourgeoisie to put the labour movement to sleep. His expe- 
rience as a bourgeois will enable him to penetrate more easily the 
real motives of the different proceedings of the enemy. That 
which to his proletarian comrade seems a chivalrous act and 
proof of a conciliatory spirit, he will recognize as an act of base 
flattery, performed for the purposes of corruption. That which 
a proletarian socialist considers a great step forward towards 
the end, will appear to the bourgeois socialist as an infinitesimal 
advance along the infinitely extended road of the class struggle. 

The difference of intellectual level between those who ad- 
vocate the same idea, dependent upon their respective derivation 
from a proletarian or a bourgeois environment, must necessarily 
reflect itself in the manner in which they represent this idea in 
the face of non-socialists, and in the tactics they employ towards 

*Cf. supra, pp. 251 et seq. 

'Augusto Novelli, the dramatist, at one time a compositor in his na- 
tive city ©f Florence, was for years an active member of the socialist 
party. In one of his comedies, a workman is asked what he and hia 
comrades have done for their defence in a struggle with their employer 
in which they are engaged. The workman replies that a mixed committee 
has been chosen to represent the views of the strikers, a committee of 
workers and intellectuals. The questioner exclaims: "But why mixed? 
Could you not settle the matter yourselves?" To which the other replies: 
"We need a man with some intelligence or else we are likely to be hum- 
bugged" (A. Novelli, La Chiocciola, L 'Elzeviriana, Florence, 1901, p. 

« Cf. supra, pp. 303, 308-9, 312. 


adversaries and sympathizers. The psychological process which 
goes on in the socialists of these two categories rests upon a 
logical foundation. The proletarian adherent of the party who 
remains a simple member of the rank and file attentively follows 
the progress made in all fields by the idea on behalf of which 
he is an enthusiastic fighter; he notes the growth of the party, 
and experiences in his own person the increase in wages se- 
cured in the struggle with the employers; besides being a mem- 
ber of the party, he belongs to his trade union, and often to a 
cooperative society as well. His experience in these various 
organizations induces a feeling of comparative content. He 
regards social evolution in a rosy light, and easily comes to 
take an optimistic view of the distance which his class has to 
traverse in order to attain to the fulfilment of its historic mis- 
sion. Ultimately social progress is regarded by him as a con- 
tinuous rectilinear movement. It appears incredible, even im- 
possible, that the proletariat should suffer reverses and dis- 
asters; when they actually occur, they seem to him merely 
transient phenomena. This state of mind renders him generous 
and considerate even towards his adversaries, and he is far from 
disinclined to accept the idea of peace with the enemy and of 
class collaboration. It need hardly be said that this disposition 
is yet more accentuated among those proletarians who attain 
to positions of eminence in the party. 

2. These considerations do not lack historical corroboration. 
Their truth is confirmed by a study of the activities of those 
socialists who were born as members of the aristocracy, or in 
the upper strata of the bourgeoisie, such as Bakunin and 
Kropotkin, both Russian nobles and both anarchists, Frederick 
Engels,^ Karl Marx.^ As a rule, in all the great questions with 

' Frederick Engels belonged to an old-established and rich family of 
manufacturers at Barmen. He performed his military service (1841) in 
the select corps of the artillery of the guard, as Einjdhrig-Freiwilliger 
(soldier serving one year at his own expense). We learn from the de- 
scription given by his old friend Lafargue that the life he led was 
that of a well-to-do man, fond of study, but also not averse from sport 
and society life (Paul Lafargue, Personliche Erinnerungen an Friedrich 
Engels, "Neue Zeit," anno xiii, vol. ii, No. 44). 

*As is well knovni, Karl Marx was a Jew, and thus belonged to a 
race which was not then, nor is even to-day, admitted to the best society 
in Germany. His father, however, belonged to an aristocratic Jewish 
family, and was highly respected and well-to-do. It should be noted, 
also, that Marx's student life was passed during the critical years of 
Jewish emancipation, at a time when social advance was especially 


which the party has to deal the ex-bourgeois socialist is in 
actual fact one who gives the preference to the most radical 
and intransigent solutions, to those which accord most strictly 
with socialist principles. It is of course true, on the other 
hand, that the history of the working-class movement shows that 
many ''reformist" currents have been strongly permeated by 
intellectual elements. It is indisputable that even if German 
reformism was not actually created by the little phalanx grouped 
round "Der Sozialistiche Student" of Berlin, the reformist 
tendency was, from the days of its first inception, vigorously 
and ostentatiously patronized by the members of this group. A 
closer examination, however, shows very clearly that the strong- 
est impulse to the reformist tendency in Germany was given 
by the trade-union leaders, by persons therefore of proletarian 
origin. Moreover, it is the most exclusivist working-class move- 
ments which have everywhere and always been most definitely 
characterized by the reformist spirit. In illustration may be 
mentioned: the French group of the International Working- 
men's Association which assembled round Fribourg and Tolain; 
the English trade unionists ; the ' ' integralists ' ' in France, whose 
organ was the "Revue Socialiste," edited by the gentle ex- 
manual worker, Benoit Malon (the note of alarm against this 
form of socialism was sounded first by the medical student 
Paul Brousse, next by the intransigent Marxists under the 
leadership of Paul Lafargue, who had just secured his medical 
diploma in England, and finally by the man of letters Jules 
Guesde) ; the Independent Labour Party with the Labour 
Representation Committee; the socialists of Genoa, led by the 
varnisher Pietro Chiesa; the peasants of Reggio Emilia. This 
tendency has been manifest from the very outset of the modern 
labour movement. Bernstein says with good reason that, not- 
withstanding all assertions to the contrary, in the English 
Chartist movement the intellectuals were distinguished by their 
marked revolutionary inclinations. "In the disputes among 
the Chartists, the radical or revolutionary tendency was by no 
means characteristic of the proletarian elements, or the moderate 
tendency of the bourgeois elements. The most notable repre- 
sentatives of the revolutionary spirit were members of the bour- 
geoisie, men of letters, etc., whereas it was leaders of working- 
easy to a Jew. Moreover, by his love-match with Jenny von Westphalen 
Marx became connected with the Borussian aristocracy. His wife 's brother 
was celebrated as a Prussian reactionary minister. 


class origin who advocated moderate methods."^ To sum up, 
and putting aside the question whether the reformist movement 
has been a good or an evil for the working class, it may be 
affirmed that generally speaking the working-class leaders of 
proletarian origin have a special tendency to adopt the reformist 
attitude. In proof of this assertion it suffices to mention the 
names of Anseele in Belgium, Legien in Germany, and Rigola 
in Italy. The term possihilisme ouvrier is far from being a 
malicious invention. 

It is not easy to furnish statistical proof of the statement 
that the socialists of bourgeois origin are more often revolu- 
tionaries than reformists. On the other hand, the history of 
Italian socialism during recent years offers an interesting dem- 
onstration of the adverse thesis (the causes of this peculiarity 
will be subsequently discussed). The official socialist organiza- 
tion of Milan, the Federazione Milanese, suffering from a 
chronic impecuniosity due to the slackness with which the ma- 
jority of the members paid their subscriptions, proposed in the 
year 1903 an expedient which is frequently adopted by the 
Italian socialists. Henceforward the monthly subscriptions were 
no longer to be equal for all the comrades, but those who were 
better off were invited to pay more in proportion to their means. 
This reform, which was inspired by a thoroughly socialist sen- 
timent, led the Milanese reformists (who in consequence of their 
differences with the revolutionists had for a long time been on 
the look-out for an honourable excuse to leave the federation, 
in which the revolutionary current was predominant) to resign 
their membership, declaring that they regarded the new sys- 
tem of payment as altogether unjust. On this occasion it ap- 
peared that it was the well-to-do members who resigned, so 
that these, the bourgeois, manifested the reformist tendency." 
It is also to be noted that during recent years (since 1901) the 
great majority of Italian socialist intellectuals have definitely 
declared themselves to be reformists by a more or less uncondi- 
tional adhesion to the opportunism of Turati. The cases just 
quoted seem to conflict with the rule previously enunciated that 
the refugees from the bourgeoisie are adverse to opportunism. 

*Eduard Bernstein, Zur Theorie u. Geschichte des Sosialismus, Ferd. 
Diimmler, Berlin, 1904, 4th ed., part ii, p. 18. 

"7 Casi di Milane, a memorial presented by the Milanese federation 
to the party executive and to the Italian comrades (Stamp, editr. Lom- 
barda di Mondaini, Milan, 1903, p. 18. 


But the inconsistency is no more than apparent. It has several 
times been pointed out that the intransigence of the ex-bourgeois 
socialist depends upon the circumstance that on his way to 
join the class-conscious proletariat he has had to make his way 
through a thorny thicket, struggling violently and suffering 
many injuries, and his courageous progress proves him to be 
endowed with an exceptional capacity of sacrifice for the ideal 
and with the energy of the born fighter. As the years have 
passed, however, this primal source of revolutionary energy has 
to a large extent dried up, because the path of the bourgeois 
adherent to socialism has become so much easier. It is a gen- 
eral law that when we change the soil we change the quality of 
the fruit. This is what has happened in Italy.^^ 

The recent history of socialism shows that the intellectuals 
are distributed in nearly equal proportions among the various 
tendencies. Confining ourselves to German examples, we find 
that it is a doctor of medicine, Raphael Friedeberg, who has 
inaugurated anarchizing socialism; a similar tendency is ex- 
hibited by the Tolstoian-Kantian Otto Buck, doctor of philos- 
ophy, and Ernst Thesing, doctor of medicine and at one time 
a cavalry lieutenant. If among the reformists we find the 
barrister Wolfgang Heine, the former theological student Rich- 
ard Calwer, the former student of political science Max Schippel, 
the pastor Gohre, the sometime gymnasium teacher Eduard 
David, the doctor of philosophy Heinrich Braun, and many 
other intellectuals — we find in the opposite camp, that of the 
revolutionaries, the doctor of philosophy Franz Mehring, the 
doctor of medicine Paul Lensch, Rosa Luxemburg, Israel Helph- 
ant (Parvus), the former student Max Grunwald, the ex-bar- 
rister Arthur Stadthagen, the barrister Karl Liebknecht, and 
Karl Kautsky, who escaped only by chance the disgrace of the 
doctor's title. We see, then, that in Germany the intellectuals 
cannot be classed exclusively as revolutionists or as reform- 

The struggle against the intellectuals within the socialist 
party is due to various causes. It originated as a struggle for 
leadership among the intellectuals themselves. Then there came 
a struggle between the representatives of different tendencies: 
strict logical adhesion to theory versus criticism, opportunism 

" Cf . supra, pp. 214, 266-7. 


versus impossibilism, trade unionism after the Englisii manner 
versus doctrinal Marxism as a philosophy of history, reformism 
versus syndicalism. From time to time these struggles assume 
the form of attacks made by the bulk of the party upon some 
small .heterogeneous element which has invaded the labour 
movement.^^ It is not always the genuine manual workers, or 
those who have been such, that are the first to raise the cry of 
alarm against the intellectuals. But it is true that the working 
class has ever been suspicious of those elements in the party who 
were derived from other social camps.^^ Clara Zetkin writes 
very justly: "The bourgeois refugee is apt to find himself 
lonely and misunderstood among his comrades in the struggle. 
He is at once a stranger and a citizen in the valley of the 
possessing classes, with which he is associated by education 
and habits of life; at once, also, a stranger and a citizen upon 
the heights of the proletariat, to whom he is bound in a firm 
community by his convictions. ' '^* The power of tradition presses 
with peculiar force upon persons of culture.^^ 

The coldness of his reception in the new environment seems 
to him doubly hard. The intellectuals, who have entered the 
party under the spur of idealism, soon feel humiliated and 
disillusioned.^^ The masses, moreover, are little capable of 
appreciating the gravity of the sacrifices which the intellectual 
often accepts when he adheres to the party. When Paul Gohre 
related to the Dresden congress how for love of the cause he 
had renounced his profession and his income, his social position, 

^Cf. supra, p. 167. 

*'Wliat the present author has written elsewhere concerning the Italian 
labour movement (Michels, Proletariato, etc., ed. cit., p. 334) applies 
perfectly, mutatis mutandis, to Germany. 

"Clara Zetkin, Geistiges Proletariat, Frauenfrage, u. Sosialismus, a 
lecture, Verlag "Vorwarts," Berlin, 1902, p. 32. 

^ " It is precisely those who are inspired by the impulse to swim in 
the fuU stream of civilization, and not to stray into the backwater of 
any sect, that feel with redoubled force the isolation in which they are 
placed by opposition to the system prevailing in Germany since 1866. 
They suffer like those who have discarded Christianity and transcendental 
religion, and who only when they have done so come to recognize to what 
an extent all our institutions, habits of life, and even the forms of our 
speech, are permeated with Christian traditions" (Max Maurenbrecher, 
Die Gehildeten u. d. Sozialdemokratie, Leipzig, 1904, p. 26). 

"Cf, P. J. Troelstra, InzaTce Parti jleiding, ed. cit., p. 103; G. Zepler, 
BadiJcalismus u. TaTctilc, NacJiwort zum Vorwdrtskonflikt, Birk, Munich, 
1905, p. 6; Lily Braun, Memoir en einer Sozialistin, ed. cit, p. 632. 


and even his family, a number of socialist journals answered 
that all this was, to put it politely, maudlin sentimentality, and 
that the socialist intellectuals, when they made such ' ' sacrifices, ' ' 
were not thinking of the cause of the workers but of them- 
selves. In a word, the comrades showed themselves utterly in- 
sensible of the greatness of the sacrifice which Gohre had made 
for love of them. The truth is that upon this point, as upon 
so many others, the intellectuals and the proletarians lack the 
capacity of mutual understanding. 

In Germany, as in Italy, France, and in some of the Balkan 
states, the gravest accusations have been launched against the 
intellectuals.^'^ There have been times in the history of Ger- 

"We are assured by a Eoumanian socialist, B. Libreseu, formerly 
editor of the socialist journal "L'Unea Noua" of Bukharest, that his 
party, which from 1880 to 1885 was strongly represented at the inter- 
national congresses and had then already two deputies in Parliament, 
had been so utterly ruined in consequence of the attacks made upon 
the intellectuals that hardly a trace of it remained. He reports: "Be- 
cause a few intellectuals had left the party in order to secure good 
positions, the intellectuals in general were regarded with contempt. 
People had no confidence in them, and this sentiment went so far that 
the word 'intellectual' became equivalent to a term of opprobrium. But 
since our cultured comrades were unwilling to abandon the labouring 
masses, they allowed themselves to be maltreated, and did not even 
venture to reprove the workers for some of their mistakes. To a working 
man everything was permissible. Gradually, however, these tendencies led 
. . . into the great and gloomy sea of indifference and death" (B. Libreseu, 
II Socialismo in Bumenia, sua Vita e sua Morte, ' ' II Soeialismo, ' ' anno 
ii, p. 184). At times the self-inflicted humiliations of the bourgeois social- 
ists assume comical forms. There have been periods in the history of the 
socialist parties when the ex-bourgeois masqueraded as working men in 
order to escape the contempt of their proletarian comrades. It is really 
laughable to see how unwilling socialists often are to admit to bourgeois 
opponents that there are many ex-bourgeois in their own ranks. A 
typical example is recorded in "Het Volk," the organ of the Dutch 
socialists (issue of August 21, 1904). In a sketch entitled Overwegingen 
van Jan Balebas over Jiet Internationaal Kongres, we are told of a 
peasant to whom certain opponents of socialism have declared that the 
leaders of international socialism are all bourgeois. Thereupon the 
peasant has the different notabilities in the hall pointed out to him (this 
is supposed to be at the international socialist congress of Amsterdam 
in August 1904). He then learns that the accusation is quite untrue. 
For Molkenbuhr is a cigar-maker, Paul Miiller a fore-mast hand, and Clara 
Zetkin a gewezen naaister (ex-tailoress) ! Thus the writer, instead of 
admitting frankly that the dominant personalities in the international 
proletariat are derived from the bourgeoisie, leads his imaginary peasant 
(and the reader!) by the nose. He does not point out to the peasant 


nian socialism in whicli the educated members of the party have 
been exposed to universal contempt. It suffices to recall the 
Dresden congress (1903), during which the whole complicated 
question of tactics seemed to be reduced to "the problem of the 
intellectuals." Even to-day they are often treated as suspects. 
There are still intellectuals who think it necessary to demon- 
strate to the masses that, notwithstanding the aggravating cir- 
cumstances of their social origin and their superior education, 
they are nevertheless good socialists. It is surely far from 
heroic, this persistence with which the intellectuals are apt to 
deny their true social character and to pretend that their own 
hands are horny. But we need not be deceived. Merlino hits 
the bull's-eye when he ironically warns us that this state of 
affairs lasts only until the moment when the intellectuals succeed 
in getting control of the working-class movement.^^ They now 
feel themselves secure, and no longer need wear the mask, at 
least in their relations with the masses. If they continue, none 
the less, to assume the posture of the humble demagogue, this 
is done from a vague fear of being accused as tyrants by the 
bourgeois parties, but still more in order to ward off the criticism 
of their working-class competitors.^^ 

It is proper to recognize that mistrust of the intellectuals, 
although in large part an artificial product, has its good side. 
For this mistrust leads no small number of cranky and eccentric 
intellectuals, who incline to play a picturesque part in joining 
the socialists, to turn towards other pastures.^" Nothing would 
the principal orators of the congress, the professors Vandervelde, Ferri, 
and Jaures, and the doctors Luxemburg and Adler, whilst with deliberate 
artifice the names of a few leaders less conspicuous than these are 
trumpeted as those of "guaranteed proletarians" — and even then the 
teacher, Clara Zetkin, is presented to us as a tailoress. 

i^F. S. Merlino, Collettivi^mo, Lotta di Casse e . . . Ministero.', re- 
joinder to F. Turati, Nerbini, Florence, 1904, p. 34. 

" Cf . supra, p. 165 et seq. 

2° ' ' During the second half of the period of anti-socialist legislation, 
it was not alone men of the stamp of Hochberg who abandoned the 
possessing classes for socialism, in order to warm themselves in the raya 
of this rising sun. Misunderstood discoverers and reformers, anti-vae- 
cinators, nature-healers, and other cranky geniuses of all kinds, endeavoured 
to secure from the working classes, which were displaying so vigorous 
an activity, the recognition elsewhere denied. Eager to overthrow an 
outworn world, the class-conscious proletariat was not fastidious, and 
looked more to the goodwiU of those who offered help than to the strength 
of their loins. Especially vigorous was the current which set towards 
socialism from academic circles. The traditions of bourgeois radicalism, 


be more disastrous for tlie workers than to tolerate the exclusive 
rule of the intellectuals. University study is not possible to 
those choice individuals alone who are endowed with excep- 
tional natural gifts; it is merely a class privilege of persons 
whose position is economically advantageous. Consequently the 
student has no right to be proud of his ability and his knowl- 
edge. He need not glory in being able to write Dr. before his 
name or M.A. after it. Every proletarian of average intelli- 
gence, given the necessary means, could acquire a university 
degree with the same facility as does the average bourgeois. 
Besides, and above all, it cannot be denied, that for the healthy 
progress of the proletarian movement it would be incomparably 
better that the mistrust of the workers towards the bourgeois 
refugees should be a hundred times greater than necessary, 
rather than that the proletariat should be deceived even once 
by overconfidence in its leaders. But unfortunately, as we learn 
from the history of the modern labour movement, even the total 
exclusion of intellectuals would not save the working class 
from numerous deceptions. 

From the ethical point of view the contempt felt by the non- 
intellectuals for the intellectuals is utterly without justification. 
It is a positive fact that even to-day, in many countries,^^ the 
bourgeois refugee who makes his adhesion to the party of the 
revolutionary workers, the party of "social subversion," or, as 
"William II expresses it, "the unpatriotic rout of those who are 
unworthy to bear the name of Germans," suffers serious eco- 
nomic and social damage. On the other hand, the proletarian 
commonly derives advantage in these respects from joining the 
party of his own class, and is thus Impelled to take this step 
from motives of class-egoism. Unquestionably the working class, 
struggling on the political field, needs recruits from its own 
ranks who can rise to the position of officers in the proletarian 
army. It is natural, too, that these leaders should be fur- 

which had persisted among the students since the days of the old Burschen- 
schaft, had become extinguished in the political decay of the progressive 
party. Varying in their inborn tendencies and their social origin, some 
of the students devoted themselves to a repulsive place-hunting, which 
at best waved the antisemite flag, whilst others endeavoured to make 
friends with the socialists" (Mehring, GescTiichte der deutschen Sozial- 
demoTcraiie, ed. cit., vol. iv, p. 120). Cf, also supra, pp. 94-5. 

°For example, in northern Germany, Switzerland, the department of 
the Nord in France, and, for other reasons, in Trieste, Japan, and 
eo on. 


nished with adequate means, and that they should be firmly 
secured in their positions. But it ill becomes the working men 
who have thus risen in the social scale to look down upon their 
ex-bourgeois associates, who have descended in the social scale, 
and have thereby become voluntary dedanses for love of the 

. It results from all that has been said that the campaign 
against the intellectuals in the socialist party, however justified 
it may be in individual cases, is as a whole utterly unjust, and 
often inopportune and absurd. Even the German labour move- 
ment, despite the high degree of technical organization to which 
it has attained, could not dispense with intellectuals. Although, 
as we have seen,^^ its general character is decisively proletarian, 
and although it has as authoritative leaders such men of prole- 
tarian origin as August Bebel, Ignaz Auer, Johannes Timm, i 
Martin Segitz, Adolph von Elm, Otto Hue, etc., it may be | 
affirmed that German socialism would lose much of its prestige ! 
if it were to eliminate the intellectuals. 

According to Mehring, the use of the intellectuals to the 
proletariat is not so much to serve as fellow-combatants in the 
struggle, as to play the part of theorists who illuminate the 
road. He writes: "If they wish to be practical fighters and 
not theorists, they become altogether insignificant as adherents 
to the labour movement; for what could be the import of the 
adhesion of a few hundred intellectuals to the working-class 
millions, seeing that the latter are already much better equipped 
than the former for the rough and tumble of practical life?" 
On the other hand, he says, the intellectuals are of great value 
to the proletariat in the elaboration of the theory of the class- 
struggle; they display the historical nexus between the labour 
movement and the world-process as a whole; they take care 
that the workers shaU not lose sight of the purposive relationship 
of individual branches of their movement with the process of 
world-transformation which it must be their aim to effect with 
all possible speed. Thus the task of the intellectuals consists 
in "maintaining the freshness and vigour of the workers in 
their movement towards their great goal, and in elucidating for 
them the social relationships which make the approaching vic- 
tory of the proletariat a certainty. ' ' ^^ 

^ Cf. supra, p. 270. 

** Franz Mehring, Akademiker u. Froletarier, II, "Leipziger Volka- 
zeitung," xi, No. 95. 


It is not necessary here to undertake a defence of the intelli- 
gence of the proletariat against those who, seeing that intel- 
lectuals are historically necessary to the socialist party, wish 
on this account to impugn the political capacity of the manual 
workers. Any one who has attentively followed the history of 
the international working-class movement will know how much 
goodwill and capacity are to be found in that proletarian party 
which, permeated with class-consciousness, has conceived the 
design of fighting for its own emancipation ; he knows how much 
intelligence, devotion to duty, calm and indefatigable energy, 
have been displayed in this cause by the workers of every coun- 
try. As managers of cooperative societies, employees of trade 
unions, editors of socialist newspapers, the proletarians have 
from the technical point of view displayed themselves as models 
whom the bourgeois who undertake similar activities would do 
well to imitate.^* If, notwithstanding all this, we commonly 
fimd in the international working-class parties it is to the bour- 
geois refugees that is usually assigned the task of dealing with 
theoretical problems and in many cases the supreme guidance 
in matters of practical politics (although in the latter sphere 
the proletarians always retain great influence), this phenome- 
non, far from being a testimonium paupertatis intellectualis on 
the part of the fighting proletariat, finds a perfectly natural 
explanation in the economic organization of contemporary pro- 
duction. This organization (whilst it permits the wage-earner, 
when conditions are favourable, to cultivate his intelligence), 
since it monopolizes the supreme advantages of civilization ad 
usum Delphinorum, makes it impossible for the intelligent 
worker to become an intellectual. Unquestionably modern pro- 
duction needs intelligent workers, such as are found among the 
modern proletariat. But it has need also of intellectuals, that 
is to say of persons whose natural mental abilities have received 
suitable training. Now a sufficient supply of these intellectuals 
is furnished by the master class, from among whose relatives 
they are recruited. Consequently it is not in the interest of 
private industry to open for the proletariat all the sluices of 
instruction. Moreover, as far as agriculture is concerned, many 
landowners cynically declare that the more ignorant the worker 
the better does he serve their turn. The consequence of all 
this is that the socialist of bourgeois origin has enjoyed that 

^ Cf. supra, pp. 299-301. 


whieli the modern proletarian still necessarily lacks. The former 
has had time and means to complete his political education ; he 
has had the physical freedom of moving from place to place, 
and the material independence without which political activity 
in the true sense of the word is inconceivable. It is therefore 
not astonishing that the proletariat should still be to some 
extent dependent upon bourgeois refugees. 

In 1894, at the Frankfort congress of the German socialist 
party, a committee was appointed for the study of the agrarian 
question, and of the fifteen members of which it was composed 
no less than nine were intellectuals. This is a manifest dispro- 
portion, especially when we remember that among the leaders 
of the German socialist party there is an exceptional numerical 
preponderance of working-class elements. But the committee 
in question had to deal with scientific problems, and these could 
be solved by those alone who had received a scientific education. 
The same thing happens whenever legal, economic, or philo- 
sophical problems have to be treated with technical competence 
— in a word, whenever the questions under discussion are not 
fully comprehensible except by those who have made prolonged 
and profound preliminary studies. Cases in which the self- 
taught man is incompetent, present themselves daily. The in- 
creasing democratization of state institutions and the progres- 
sive socialization of the collective life, together with the secur- 
ing of better conditions of labour for the workers, may per- 
haps gradually render the help of the intellectuals less essen- 
tial. But this is a question for the remote future. Meanwhile, 
such a movement as that of the modern proletariat cannot afford 
to await that degree of maturity which would enable it to 
replace the ex-bourgeois among its leaders by men of prole- 
tarian origin. 

The bourgeois elements in the socialist working-class party 
cannot be forcibly eradicated, nor excluded by any resolutions 
of party congresses ; they are integral constituents of the move- 
ment for whose existence it is needless to offer any apologies. 
A political labour movement without deserters from the bour- 
geoisie is historically as inconceivable as would be such a move- 
ment without a class-conscious proletariat. This consideration 
applies, above all, to the early days of the labour movement; 
but it is still applicable to the movement in the form in which 

we know it to-day.^^ 

=»Cf. supra, p. 238. 





In the domain of public law, democracy attains its culminating 
point in that complex of institutions which exists in Switzerland, 
where the people possesses the right of the referendum and that 
of the initiative. The use of the referendum is compulsory in 
Switzerland upon a number of questions which are statutorily 
determined. The legislative measures drawn up by the repre- 
sentative body must then be submitted to a popular vote, for 
acceptance or rejection. In addition, the burghers exercise 
the power of direct legislation. "When a certain number of 
voters demand the repeal of an existing law or the introduction 
of a new one, the matter must be submitted to popular vote. 
These important popular rights are supplemented by the direct 
popular election of the supreme executive authorities, as in the 
United States.^ Although these democratic ordinances have 
often in actual practice proved but little democratic in their 
results (the referendum, above all, having frequently shown 
that the democratic masses possess less democratic understand- 
ing than the representative government), and although leading 
socialists have therefore with good reason sharply criticized 
these manifestations of democracy,- other socialists look to 
these institutions for the definitive solution of all questions of 
public law, and for the practical contradiction of the opinion 
that oligarchy arises by natural necessity, contending that by 
the referendum and by the initiative the decisive influence in 
legislative matters is transferred from the representative as- 
sembly to the totality of the citizens.^ 

^Karl Hilty, Bie Bundesverfassung der schweitserischen Eidgenossen- 
schaft, Berne, 1891. 

'Karl Kautsky, Ber Parlamentarismus, die Kolksgesetsgebung u. d. 
SosialdemoTcratie, Dietz, Stuttgart, 1893; Arturo Labriola, Contro il Befer- 
endum, "Critica Sociale," Milan, 1897; J. Eamsay Maedonald, Socialism 
and Government, Independent Labour Party, London, 1910. 

^Giuseppe Eenzi, Gli " Ancien Begime" e la Bemo8ra3ia diretta, ed. 
cit., p. 231. 



Now the democratic parties, as far as their internal organiza- 
tion is concerned, have either failed to adopt the principles of 
direct popular sovereignty, or else have accepted application 
of these only after prolonged hesitation and in exceptional 
cases. From the democratic point of view they are therefore 
inferior to many of the Swiss cantons. For example, the Ger- 
man social democracy does not submit the deliberations of its 
congresses to ratification by the party as a whole. Moreover, 
and here the German arrangements differ from those which 
obtain among the socialists of Italy, France, and England (where 
the vote is based upon the number of the adherents in the local 
branches which the delegates respectively represent), in Ger- 
many the decisions at the congress are determined by the simple 
majority of the delegates. Thus we have parliamentarism in 
place of democracy. It is true that every member of the so- 
cialist party has the right of submitting any motion he pleases 
to the annual congress. But the initiative thus secured is purely 
nominal. The motions sent in by individuals are hardly ever 
considered, and they are never passed, and the consequence is 
that none but a few cranks avail themselves of this right. When 
the congress is actually sitting, if a new resolution is to be 
submitted at least ten delegates must demand it. The only 
institution in the modern socialist parties which corresponds to 
the right of initiative is that in virtue of which the executive is 
compelled to summon an extraordinary congress upon the de- 
mand of a certain number of the members : in Germany, fifteen 
sections ; in Italy, not less than one-tenth of all the members ; * in 
Belgium, two provincial federations or twenty sections.^ 

In the Italian socialist party the referendum was practised 
for a certain time, especially as regards questions upon which 
a preceding congress had not come to a decision, or where this 
decision had been insufficiently clear. From 1904 to 1906 the 
executive council had recourse to this means on four occasions. 
In one of these the question submitted was whether in the 
local branches the minority had the right of secession to form 
autonomous branches. Of the 1,458 sections consulted, 778 re- 
plied (166 for, 612 against). On another occasion it was neces- 
sary to consult the party upon the compatibility of freemasonry 

* Statuto del Partito Socialista Italiano (1900), Gennaro Messina, II 
Manuale del Socialista, Nerbini, Florence, 1901, p. 164. 

" Programme et Statuts du Parti Ouvrier Beige, ' ' Lie Peuple, ' ' Brussels, 
1903, p. 14. 


with socialism, and to ask whether members of the party could 
continue to be members of lodges. The participation of the 
members in this referendum was insignificant, but of the replies 
received, the majority were adverse to freemasonry.^ In the 
two other cases in which the referendum was employed, one 
related to a local Milanese question and the other to the choice 
of seat for a congress. Thus the use made in Italy of the 
referendum has been extremely restricted and the results have 
been mediocre. In England, many of the trade unions, after 
having for long made use of the referendum, have now discon- 
tinued the practice, on the ground that it led to a loss of 
tactical stability and was prejudicial to the finances and to 
the work of administration.''' In Germany, where, notwith- 
standing the hesitation of the majority, the referendum was 
introduced in certain districts for the election of the delegates 
to the congress, it was soon perceived that those comrades alone 
had sufficient knowledge to participate in the election of dele- 
gates who had taken part in the meetings upon party questions 
and were familiar with the attitude assumed upon these by the 
various candidates. Consequently the application of the refer- 
endum to the election of delegates came to be regarded as a 
dangerous measure, tending to withdraw the electoral act from 
the sovereignty of the assembly.^ In Holland, where the referen- 
dum is obligatory for the election of the executive committee 
of the socialist party, in 1909 the participation of the rank and 
file in the election was so small that (notwithstanding the 
violent internal struggles then agitating the higher centres of 
the party) not more than one-half of the members exercised 
their right to vote.^ 

The history of the referendum as a democratic expedient 
utilized by the socialist parties may be summed up by saying 
that its application has been rare, and that its results have been 
unfortunate. The results have been bad owing to the confused 
manner in which the questions have been formulated and owing 
to the inadequate participation of the masses. The rare appli- 
cation within the socialist party of this direct appeal to the 

'Ernesto Cesare Longobardi, Relatione morale e politica della Diresione 
del Partito, Stab. Tip. Ital., Frascati, 1906, pp. 5 et seq. 

^Fausto Pagliari, Organissasione operaia in Europa, Umanitaria, Milan, 
1909, 2nd ed., p. 54. 

'"Volksstimme" of Frankfort, 1908, No. 188, first supplement. 

""Het Volk," April 21, 1910. 


members is in remarkable contrast with the frequent use made 
of the referendum by the bourgeois national organism of Switzer- 
land, and it is in flagrant contradiction with the demand which 
all socialists make of the state for direct legislation by the 
people through the initiative and right of popular veto. Where 
party life is concerned, the socialists for the most part reject 
these practical applications of democracy, using against them 
conservative arguments such as we are otherwise accustomed 
to hear only from the opponents of socialism. In articles written 
by socialist leaders it is ironically asked whether it would be 
a good thing to hand over the leadership of the party to the 
ignorant masses simply for love of an abstract democratic prin- 
ciple.^" The conservative has views which harmonise perfectly 
with the thought here expressed, but he will speak of the "state" 
instead of the ''party." 

The referendum is open to criticism to the same extent and 
for the same reasons as is every other form of direct popular 
government.^^ The two principal objections are the incom- 
petence of the masses and the lack of time. Bernstein has said 
with good reason that even if none but the most important 
political and administrative questions are to be submitted to 
the popular vote, the happy citizen of the future will find every 
Sunday upon his desk such a number of interrogatories that 
he will soon lose all enthusiasm for the referendum.^^ It is, 
however, especially in respect of questions demanding a prompt 
decision that the referendum proves impracticable; it con- 
flicts with the militant character of the party, interfering with 
easy mobilization. Moreover, in all the more important cases, 
as when it is necessary to determine the attitude of the socialist 

"Cf. also supra, pp. 151-2. The same train of thought is developed 
by an Italian revolutionist, Arturo Labriola. In the days before his 
adhesion to syndicalism he wrote a little work against the referendum, 
in which he said : "In politics, as in everything else, it is not truly demo- 
cratic to hand over power to the many on the plea that right must be 
on their side; it should be given to those who can best judge the interac- 
tion of cause and effect in social life. It is certainly not a revolutionary 
tactic to entrust the part of Brennus in political life to those who are 
most attached (as are the peasants) to conservative traditions. But this 
is what the referendum does" (Arturo Labriola, Contro il Referendum, 
ed. cit., p. 24). In these phrases we have the plainest denial, the most 
deliberate denunciation, of democracy. 

" Cf . supra, pp. 24 et seq., 43 et seq., 100-1, 151-2. 

"E. Bernstein, Zur GescMcMe u. Theorie des Sosialismus, Diimmler, 
Berlin, 1901, p. 204. 



party towards an imminent war, the use of a referendum would 
be rendered impossible by the forcible opposition of the state. 
It may be added that it is easy for the chiefs to lead the masses 
astray by clever phrasing of the questions/^ and by reserving 
to themselves the right of interpretation in the case of replies 
which are ambiguous precisely because the questions have been 
ambiguously posed. The referendum, through its absolute char- 
acter and its withdrawal from all criticism, favours the dominion 
of adroit adventurers. George Sand describes the plebiscite, if 
not counterpoised by the intelligence of the masses, as an attack 
upon the liberty of the people.^* The power of Bonapartism 
was, in fact, based on the referendum.^^ The institution of the 
referendum demands for its just working a perfectly con- 
scientious bureaucracy, for the history of this electoral system 
shows with what ease its results are falsified.^^ Even if the 
operation should be effected strictly according to rule, the result 
of a referendum can never have a truly demonstrative value, 

^*In 1860, when the unification of Italy was effected by a plebiscite, 
the Italian petty states being swept away, the alternative proposed in 
the referendum was between the retention of the ancient and detested 
petty princedoms and the acceptance of the kingship of Victor Emanuel. 
In this manner the numerous Italians who desired the unification of 
Italy in republican form were deprived of the possibility of expressing 
their true views. (Cf. supra, pp. 91 and 229 note 3.) 

^*G-. Sand, Journal d'un Voyageur, etc., ed. cit., p. 306. 

^^Eesult of the plebiscitary elections of Napoleon I (Idees Napo- 
Uoniennes, ed. cit., p. 19, by Louis Napoleon Bonaparte) : — 




Constitution of the year 1791, 

not submitted to popular vote 

Constitution of the year 1793 . . . 




Constitution of the year III 




Election as Consul (year VIII) . . . 




Consul for life (1802) 




Emperor (1804) 




This table is continued on page 338. 

"Celebrated is the reproach hurled by Victor Hugo at Napoleon III on 
account of the plebiscite of the year 1851: ''Qui a conte? Baroehe. Qui 
a serute? Eouher. Qui a controle? Pietri. Qui a additionne? Maupas. 
Qui a verifie? Troplong. Qui a proclame? Vous. C'est a dire que la 
bassesse a conte, la platitude a serute, la rouerie a controle, le faux a 
additionne, la venalite a verifie, le mensonge a proelame" (Victor Hugo, 
Napoleon le Petit, ed. cit., p. 313). 



for it always lacks the vivifying influence of discussion. To 
conclude, it may be said that it can exercise no substantial in- 
fluence upon the executive. 

Plebiscites of Napoleon III 

Election to the presidency (1848) 

Ee-eleeted president for 10 years 


Emperor (1852) 








The dissolution of the democratic consciousness of the leaders 
may doubtless be retarded, if not completely arrested, by the 
influence of intellectual or purely ideological factors. * ' So long 
as the guidance and representation of the party remains in the 
hands of persons who have grown grey in the great tradition 
of socialism, " ^ so long, that is to say, as the party is still 
dominated by vigorous socialistic idealism, it is possible that 
in certain conditions the leaders will retain their ancient demo- 
cratic sentiments, and that they will continue to regard them- 
selves as the servitors of the masses from whom their power is 
derived. We have already discussed the drastic measures that 
have been proposed to prevent the embourgeoisement of the 
leaders of proletarian origin.^ But it is not enough to prevent 
the proletarian elements among the leaders from adopting a 
bourgeois mode of life ; it is also essential, on this line of thought, 
to insist upon the proletarianization of the leaders of bourgeois 
origin. In order to render it impossible for the socialist in- 
tellectuals to return to their former environment it has been 
proposed to insist that they should assimilate the tenour of 
their lives to that of the proletarian masses, and should thus 
descend to the level of their followers. It is supposed that their 
bourgeois instincts would undergo atrophy if their habits were 
to be in external respects harmonized as closely as possible with 
those of the proletariat. 

This thesis is rooted in the records and experiences of popular 
history. A life in common awakens sympathy, attenuates the 
sentiments of class opposition, and may culminate in their entire 
disappearance. In the equalitarian state of Paraguay, which 
was founded and administered by the Jesuit order, those who 
were under tutelage felt themselves to be at one with the Jesuit 

^Heinrich Strobel, GewerTcschaften u. Sosialistische Geist, "Neue Zeit," 
9IU10 xxiii, vol. ii, No. 44. 
*Cf. supra, p. 126. 



fathers who were exploiting them, since there was no distinction 
between the leaders and the led in respect of clothing or general 
manner of life.^ During the French Revolution, the peasantry 
took the castles of the nobles by storm ; it was only in La Vendee 
that the two classes made common cause in the pitiless struggle 
with the centralized revolutionary government in Paris, because 
the patriarchal life in common, the common festivals and com- 
mon hunting parties, had there effected a close psychological 
community between the peasants and their lords.* Similarly in 
Italian villages we do not usually find a well-marked hatred of 
the clergy, for the local cures, good-natured if uncultured indi- 
viduals, are in no way elevated above the rest of the population, 
whose habits, and even whose poverty, they usually share.^ 

Numerous measures, both material and ideal, have been pro- 
posed to prevent the formation of an oligarchy within the demo- 
cratic parties. Speaking of the Italian students, Bakunin de- 
fines in the following terms the role which in his opinion the 
young refugees from the bourgeoisie ought to play in the ranks 
of the proletariat. *'Ni guides, ni prophetes, ni instructeurs, 
ni docteurs, ni createurs. Aux jeunes intellectuels il convient 
d'etre les accoucheurs de la pensee enfantee par la vie meme 
du peuple, et d'elever les aspirations aussi inconscientes que 
puissantes du proletariat de I'etat de confusion a celui de 
clarte. ' ' ® Bakunin saw clearly that in certain countries, such 
as Italy and Russia, the working-class movement could not pos- 
sibly dispense with the aid of bourgeois intellectuals, but he 
desired that those who by birth were the natural adversaries 
of socialism should be subjected to a very strict regime when 
they adhered to the socialist cause. In this respect he may be 
considered a precursor of Tolstoi. "La vie domine la pensee 
et determine la volonte." It is by this aphorism, essentially 
based upon the materialist conception of history, that Bakunin 
defines his attitude to the question under consideration. He 
continues: "Si un homme, ne et eleve dans un milieu bour- 

* J. Guevara Historia de la Conquista de Paraguay, Buenos Ayres, 1885. 

*Adolphe Thiers, Eistoire de la Revolution Frangaise, Brockhaus u. 
Avenarius, Leipzig, 1846, vol. ii, pp. 395-6; Karl Kautsky, Die Klas- 
sengegensatse von 1789, Dietz, Stuttgart, 1889, p. 17. 

®Cf. the admirable picture given by Bakunin, II Sosialismo e Massini, 
ed. cit., p. 49. 

'Bakunin, Lettre inedite a Celso Cerretti, 1872, "La Soeiete Nouvelle," 
Brussels, February 1896, No. cxxiv, p. 179. 


geois, veut devenir, sineerement et sans phrases, Tami et le 
frere des ouvriers, il doit renoncer a toutes les conditions de 
son existence passee, a toutes ses habitudes bourgeoises, rompre 
tons ses rapports de sentiment, de vanite, et d 'esprit avec le 
monde bourgeois, et, tournant le dos a ce monde, devenant son 
ennemi et lui declarant une guerre irreconciliable, se jeter en- 
tierement, sans restriction ni reserve, dans le monde ouvrier. 
S'il ne trouve pas en lui une passion de justice suffisante pour 
lui inspirer cette resolution et ce courage, qu'il ne se trompe pas 
lui-meme et qu'il ne trompe pas les ouvriers; 11 ne deviendra 
jamais leur ami."^ Thus it vs^as above all for reasons of a 
psychological order that Bakunin demanded from the "bour- 
geois socialists," from the ''intellectuals," a complete abandon- 
ment of their former mode of life. He believed that the outer 
world exercises a decisive influence upon the world of mental 
life. Self-renunciation, sacrifice, repudiation of all the forms 
of bourgeois existence — such were the conditions essential to the 
labour leader during the long history of the Russian revolution. 
In 1871 Netchajeff wrote his famous revolutionary catechism, 
enunciating the principle that the true revolutionary must be 
a man "consecrated to the cause." In the first paragraph we 
read: "II n'a n'y interets personnels, ni affaires, ni senti- 
ments, ni attachements, ni propriete, ni meme un nom. 
Tout en lui est absorbe par un seul interet exclusif, 
une seule pensee, une seule passion : la Revolution. ' ' ^ Thus 
the aim was to attain to an absolute f orgetfulness of the former 
bourgeois existence. Even more important than this elusory 
internal mortification was the external or environmental mortifi- 
cation which, among the Russian socialists, subsequently came 
to constitute the substratum of their activities, and which 
Bakunin described as "complete immersion in the life of the 
people. ' ' ^ The suppression of bourgeois instincts, this was 
the postulate which long dominated the history of Russian social- 
ism. The apostles of the revolution, who were in many cases 
of the highest birth, must effect this suppression, in accordance 

'Bakunin, L' Empire Tcnouto-germanique et la devolution Soeiale, CEuvrea 
de Michel Bakounine, P. V. Stock, Paris, 1897, vol. ii, p. 370. 

^Le Catechisme Eevolutionnaire, reprinted by Marx, L' Alliance de la 
Democratie Socialiste et l' Association Internationale des Travailleurs. A. 
Carson, successeur Foucault, London and Hamburg, 1873, p. 90. 

*"I1 bagno nella vita del populo" (Bakunin, II Sosialismo e Maszini, 
ed. cit., p. 24). 


with established custom, by living "among the people," by- 
harmonizing their mode of life with that of the proletariat, by 
confounding themselves with the latter. Such was the theory 
of the "narodniki" or ''populists," and its practical conse- 
quences were endured with the greatest heroism. Abandoning 
their social position, bidding farewell to all the intellectual 
comforts of the town, renouncing study and bourgeois career, 
men of science, schoolmasters, nobles, Jewish girl-students, and 
young women of family, withdrew to remote villages. Working 
as agricultural labourers, wheelwrights, locksmiths, blacksmiths, 
etc., they endeavoured to acquire the most intimate knowledge 
of the common people, to gain their confidence, and whilst still 
keeping always in view the great revolutionary aim, they became 
the advisers of the people in the most varied conditions of their 

After 1870 an analogous movement, though a somewhat less 
extensive one, was manifest among the socialist intellectuals of 
other countries, and more especially among those of Italy, who 
for this reason were stigmatized by Marx, in a spasm of un- 
justified anger, as declasses. This term, used in an insulting 
sense, presents the Italian socialists in a false light. Bakunin 
spoke of such declassement, not as a historical fact, but as a 
psychological postulate of the effective socialist action of those 
who were not proletarians by birth. Thus in Bakunin 's view 
the declasse was not a social outcast, a bankrupt, an ineffectual 
genius, in a word, an involuntary outcast, but the very opposite, 
a voluntary outcast, one who has deliberately broken with the 
society in which he was born, in order to adapt himself to a 
strange environment and one hostile to that in which he was 
himself brought up. He is an intentional declasse, and apart 
from the end which he pursues he must inspire us with respect 
for his spirit of self-sacrifice and for the invincible firmness 
of his convictions. It is a historical fact, though one of which 
the proof cannot be attempted here, that the bourgeois leaders 
of the early Italian labour movement were declasses, but that 
they were such almost exclusively in the sense in which the 
word is used by Bakunin and not in the sense in which the 
word is used by Marx. Carlo Cafiero, the best-known leader 

^* Adolf Braun, Bussland u. d. devolution, p. 4. — Among numerous docu- 
ments relating to this period of the Eussian struggle for liberty, ef. 
also Geheime Denlcschrift uber die Nihilistischen Vrntriebe im Jahre 1875. 
•'Deutsche Rundschau." 


of tlie Italian section of the International, derived from an 
aristocratic and wealthy family, placed the whole of his con- 
siderable fortune at the disposal of the party, whilst himself 
leading the life of a poor Bohemian. He may be considered 
the prototype of such idealists." Similar political tactics, of 
which perhaps idealists alone are capable (and these only in 
periods dominated by strong collective emotion), are based upon 
the psychological experience that the most ominously dictatorial 
tendencies of the leaders can be weakened, if not altogether sup- 
pressed, by one prophylactic means alone, namely, by the arti- 
ficial creation of a social homogeneity among the various strata 
and fragments of which the revolutionary socialist party is 
composed. It thus becomes a moral postulate that all members 
of the party should live more or less in the same manner. This 
homogeneity of life is regarded as a safety-valve against the 
development of oligarchical forms within the working-class 

In our own day the principle that the leaders should practise 
economic renunciation and should identify themselves with 
the multitude is advocated only by a few isolated romanticists 
who belong to the anarchist wing of the socialist movement, and 
even by them only in timid periphrases.^^ A similar principle, 
however, continues to prevail in the form of a political postulate, 
for the demand is made in certain working-class sections of the 
French and German socialist parties that the leaders should 
break off all social relationships with the bourgeois world, should 
devote themselves entirely to the party, and should have no other 
companions than ' ' regularly inscribed members. " In a Guesdist 
congress held in the north of France a resolution was passed 
that it was the duty of the socialist deputies to spend their 
lives among their comrades.^^ In Germany we find traces of 
the same order of ideas in the absolute prohibition that mem- 
bers of the party shall write for the bourgeois press, or take 

^Ci. Michels, BorgJiesia e Proletariato, etc., ed. eit., pp. 68 et seq. 

"Leda Kafanelli PoUi, Italian authoress and anarchist agitator, for- 
merly a compositor, maintains in one of her interesting novels that the 
intellectual cannot become a complete socialist unless he abandon the life 
of his class. If he is unwilling to effect this renunciation, we can be sure 
that sooner or later he will leave the proletariat in the lurch (PoUi, Un 
Sogno d'Amore, Nerbini, Florence, 1905, pp. 171 et seq.). 

^^ Compte-rendu officiel du III^ Congres departmental de la Federation 
du Nord du Parti Socialiste, tenu a Loos 1907, M. Dhoossche, LiUe, 1907, 
p. 41. 


any part whatever in bourgeois society. It is obvious that these 
iattempts, which are inefficacious and impractical, can succeed 
at most in creating party fanaticism. They cannot establish 
identity of thought and action between the leaders and the 
proletarian masses. 



According to the syndicalist doctrine, it is essential to transfer 
the revolutionary centre of gravity of the proletariat from the 
political party to the trade union. The union is conceived as a 
politically neutral organism, one which does not adhere to any 
party, but which is socialist in inspiration and aim. 

It is the great merit of the syndicalists that they have under- 
stood how disastrous would be isolated syndicalist activity, 
devoid of any general theory, living simply from day to day; 
and to have advocated with much energy the indissoluble union 
of the working class, organized in its trade unions, with the 
socialist idea as spiritus rector and as ultimate aim. The syn- 
dicalists desire (and here, for once, they agree with the Marxist 
politicians) to diffuse among the organized workers the convic- 
tion that the trade union cannot attain its aim except by the 
elimination of capitalism, that is to say, by the abolition of 
the existing economic order. But the syndicalists also desire 
(and here they are in open conflict with all the other currents 
of contemporary socialism) that the trade union should not 
merely be an asylum for socialist ideas, but that it should also 
directly promote socialist activity, pursuing not simply a trade- 
unionist policy in the amplest sense of the term, but in addi- 
tion and above all a socialist policy. Syndicalism is to put an 
end to the dualism of the labour movement by substituting for 
the party, whose sole functions are politico-electoral, and for 
the trade union, whose sole functions are economic, a completer 
organism which shall represent a synthesis of the political and 
of the economic function.^ 

Hence it is not the purpose of syndicalism to do away with 
organization as the basis of the labour movement. It expressly 
recognizes that this basis is indispensable. The syndicalists 
hold, and with good reason, that the dangers of organization 

^Enrico Leone, Che cosa e il Sindacalismo, Tip. Industria e Lavoro, 
Rome, 1906, p. 28. 



cannot be eliminated simply by suppressing the organization, 
any more than we can prevent intoxication of the blood or 
diseases of the circulation by withdrawing the blood from the 
vessels. These would be quack cures, alike fatal in their result, 
for the latter would kill the human organism and the former 
would kill the political and social organism. The problem rather 
is to discover an appropriate means for reducing to a minimum 
the chief defect which seems inherent in organization, namely, 
the rule exercised by the minority over the majority. Here we 
find a political school, whose adherents are numerous, able, well- 
educated, and generous-minded, persuaded that in syndicalism it 
has discovered the antidote to oligarchy. But we have to ask 
whether the antidote to the oligarchical tendencies of organiza- 
tion can possibly be found in a method which is itself also rooted 
in the principle of representation. Does it not rather seem 
that this very principle is in insoluble contradiction with the 
anti-democratic protestations of syndicalism 1 In other words, is 
not syndicalism itself affected by a manifest antinomy? 

The great significance of syndicalism is found, above all, in 
the clear and penetrating manner in which it has recognized 
the dangers of bourgeois democracy. "With a genuinely scientific 
scepticism it has stripped away the veils which conceal the power 
exercised by the democracy in the state, showing that this power 
is really no more than the hegemony of a minority, and demon- 
strating that it is in acute opposition with the needs of the 
working class.^ ' ' La democratic pretend continuer 1 'exploitation 
des masses productrices par une oligarchic de professionnels de 
1 'intelligence. ' ' ^ All the struggles which international syndical- 
ism has undertaken against the German social-democracy, against 
the Italian and French intellectuals, and against the trade unions 
constituted upon a bureaucratic basis, may be reduced in ulti- 
mate analysis to a struggle against democratic demagogy.* 

Syndicalism is, however, mistaken in attributing to parliamen- 
tary democracy alone the inconveniences that arise from the 
principle of delegation in general. Mantica is right when he 
says that the syndicalists themselves have not succeeded in get- 

* Werner Sombart, in his Sosialismus u. SoziaTbewegung (Fischer, Jena, 
6th ed., 1907, p, 129), attributes great importance to this particular aspect 
of syndicalism. 

' Georges Sorel, Les Illusions du Progres, ed. cit., p. 263. 

* Georges Sorel in a letter to Enrico Leone, ''Divenire Soeiale," v, 
fasc. 12, 1909. 


ting rid of the mental impedimenta with which all those are 
burdened who belong to any party, whether it participates in 
parliamentary elections or rejects such participation on prin- 
ciple.^ Nolens volens, the syndicalist party is nothing more 
than a socialist party inefficiently revised and corrected. The 
syndicalists wish to stop where logically there is no stopping- 
place. All that the syndicalists have written upon political 
parties in general, and upon their big brother the socialist party 
in particular, applies to themselves as well, because it applies 
to all organizations as such without exception. 

The more syndicalism endeavours to displace the axis of 
working-class policy towards syndicalist action, the greater is 
the danger it runs of itself degenerating into an oligarchy. Even 
in the revolutionary syndicalist groups the leaders have fre- 
quent opportunities of deceiving the rank and file. The treas- 
urer of a strike, the secretary of a trade union, even the par- 
ticipator in a conspiracy or the leader upon a barricade, can 
betray those from whom they have received their instructions 
far more easily and with much more serious consequences than 
can a socialist member of parliament or municipal councillor.® 
French syndicalists have frequently insisted with a certain vio- 
lence upon what they speak of as "direct action" as the only 
means of bringing the working class into effective operation 
as an autonomous mass not represented by third persons, and 
of excluding a priori all representation "qui ne pent etre que 
trahison, deviation, embourgeoisement. ' ' '' But they arbitrarily 
restrict their one-sided theory to the political party alone, as 
if it were not inevitable that like causes should produce like 
effects when their action is displayed upon the field of the 
syndicalist movement. They reason as if they were immunized 
against the action of sociological laws of universal validity.^ 

* Paolo Mantiea, postscript to an article by Fiorino dal Padulo, Elesio- 
nismo o Anti-Elezionismo ? , "Divenire Sociale," vi, fasc. 19 and 20, 
p. 272. 

«"We find that this is admitted even by a syndicalist. Cf. Angelo 
Oliviero Olivetti, Problemi del Socialismo Contemporaneo, Cagnoni, Lugano, 
1906, vol. i, p. 52. 

^ Cf ., inter al., Edouard Berth, Bourgeoisie et Proletariat dans le Mouve- 
ment socialiste italien, "Mouvement Socialiste," anno ix, series ii, p. 16; 
and reply by E. Michels, Controverse socialiste, in the same review, pp. 
282 et seq. 

* Typical of the ingenuous views of the writer, an ingenuousness which 
is characteristic of most of the syndicalists, are the words in which 


The organic structure of the trade unions is based upon the 
same foundation as that of the political party of the workers, 
namely, the representation of the interests of the rank and file 
by individuals specially elected for that purpose,^ In the 
decisive moments of the struggle for higher wages, the masses 
do not represent themselves but are represented by others. Trade 
unions without representatives, without some kind of executive, 
do not exist and are inconceivable.^" 

The management of a trade union is sometimes a post of 
transition extremely favourable to a political career. In Ger- 
many, 35 trade-union leaders sit in parliament, and in England 
27. In France the two first permanent secretaries of the Metal- 

G-ustave Herve deals with the case of Azeff, the Eussian revolutionary 
who was unmasked as a spy. In an article entitled L' Affaire Azew ("La 
Guerre Sociale," iii annee, No. 7), Herve first of all expresses the view 
that the Azeff revelations are of a nature ' ' a decourager tout revolution- 
naire d'entrer jamais dans une organisation secrete." He then goes 
on to insist upon the need for the existence of small and secret groups 
of leaders, saying, among other things: "II est indispensable qu'une or- 
ganisation de combat, quel qu'elle soit, ait a sa tete un comite central 
aussi peu nombreux que possible, et compose de militants aussi inaccessibles 
a la cupidite et a 1 'ambition qu'a la peur et a la neurasthenie. , . . II 
faut que ses noyaux soient composes de camarades, ayant fait leurs preuves 
de courage, de discretion, de sobriete, et de desinteressement. " Herve 
thus consoles himself with regard to the dangers of leadership, which he 
does not fail to recognize, through the act of faith by which he is assured 
that syndicalism at any rate will have leaders whose qualities will be proof 
against all these dangers. 

•Eor this reason, too, the criticism which the syndicalists direct against 
the parliamentary methods of democracy is largely fallacious. For ex- 
ample, Emile Pouget, in a work upon La Confederation Generale du 
Travail (Riviere, Paris, 1908, p. 35), speaks of "I'enorme difference de 
m^thode" between socialism and syndicalism. Whereas, he tells us, the 
activity of syndicalism must be regarded as the outcome of the work 
of an enlightened minority, namely that composed of the organized 
workers, political socialism, which avails itself of the mechanism of uni- 
versal suffrage, puts power into the hands of the unenlightened majority, 
or rather of their spokesmen. In reality, however, the activity of the 
trade union and the activity of the electoral system are governed by the 
same principle, that is to say, by an electoral right freely exercised. It 
may be true that the participation of the people in the elections to 
representative bodies may be somewhat more extensive than is the par- 
ticipation of the organized workers in the election of their leaders, but 
it would be rash to deduce from this trifling difference the essential in- 
feriority of "political democracy." 

*" Cf . supra, pp. 298-9. 


lurgical Federation have become deputies.^^ The strike, direct 
action by the proletariat, which the syndicalists regard as the 
panacea for all the ills affecting the labour movement, offers 
to men with a taste for political life, excellent opportunities for 
the display of their faculty for organization and their aptitude 
for command. The same may be said of the political strike, the 
general strike.^^ For the professional leaders of the working- 
class, the economic strike is often precisely what war is for 
professional soldiers.^^ Both present a good opportunity for 
rapid and splendid promotion. Many labour leaders have risen 
to extremely exalted and lucrative positions because they have 
directed a great strike, and have thus attracted the attention of 
the general public and of the government.^* The political posi- 
tion now [1912] occupied in England by John Burns is largely 
due to the celebrity he acquired as a strategist when he led the 
great dockers' strike in London during the year 1889. He then 
created a solid foundation for his subsequent popularity, and 
in particular he then gained the confidence of the most im- 
portant categories of organized workers, and thus paved the 
way for his elevation from the bench of the working engineer 
to the rank of cabinet minister.^^ This is one example among 
many which could be adduced in support of the assertion that 
very frequently the strike, instead of being a field of activity 
for the uniform and compact masses, tends rather to facilitate 
the process of differentiation and to favour the formation of 

^ Union Federate des Ouvriers MStallurgistes de France, Bourse du 
Travail, Paris, p. 16. 

" Even the reformist socialist Victor Adler of Vienna accepts the general 
strike as a method of public activity suitable for throwing into greater 
relief, by its reactions, by the fear and respect it arouses in the ad- 
versaries of the socialist party, the work of the labour representatives 
in parliament. 

"Vilfredo Pareto, Systemes socialistes, ed. cit., vol. i, p. 71. 

« Cf . supra, p. 306. ,^ . ^ 

«"In the great dockers' strike of 1889 Burns showed himself to be 
a notable organizer. Henceforward he was recognized by all parties as 
one of the most important personalities in English public life" (Carl 
Stegmann and C. Hugo [Lindemann] Eandhuch des Sosialismus, 1897, 
ed cit p 101) "The whole labour movement received during 1889 
an immense impetus . . ., above all, from the remarkable series of strikes 
mostly led and organized by Mr. John Burns. "-"The strike [of the 
London dock labourers] was admirably led and managed by Burns (Sid- 
ney Webb, Socialism in England, Swann Sonnenschem, London, 1890, 
pp. 48 and 53). (Cf. also H. M. Hyndman, The Eecord of an Adven- 
turous Life, ed. cit., p. 407.) 


an elite of leaders.^^ Syndicalism is even more than socialism 
a fighting party. It loves the great battlefield. Can we be sur- 
prised that the syndicalists need leaders yet more than do the 
socialists ? 

The syndicalists reject the system of democratic representa- 
tion and of bureaucracy. They desire to substitute for it "the 
more combative tactics of the revolutionary army of liberty, 
tactics founded upon the tried ability of the leaders. ' ' The mod- 
ern labour leader, they tell us, must not be a bureaucrat. Al- 
ready to-day, they add, the great strike-leaders arise suddenly 
from obscurity as did formerly the great leaders of revolution." 
In so far as it corresponds to historic truth, this conception does 
not at the best afford more than a general explanation of the 
institution of leadership. Its adequacy would be far greater 
were it possible to prove that these strike-leaders, whose necessity 
is admitted by the syndicalists themselves, when they have 
emerged from obscurity to fulfil a temporary need, were to prove 
sufficiently disinterested to undergo a spontaneous eclipse as 
soon as the strike was over. We know, however, that in general 
they seize the opportunity to secure a position of permanent 
influence. No form of strike, however much it may seem to be 
inspired by the autonomy of the masses, will be able to kill the 
dragon of demagogy, or even to prevent the formation of a class 
of independent leaders.^^ 

Under certain conditions, the mere theoretical propaganda 
of the idea of the strike and of direct action has sufficed to 
secure power and influence for the popular leader, to lift him 
upon the shoulders of the multitude to a position in which he 
could pluck at his ease the golden apples of life. Aristide 
Briand, born at Nantes of a family of small tavern-keepers, hav- 

" During the great strike of the agricultural workers in the Parma 
district, which took place during the summer of 1908 and which had 
been organized by the syndicalists, the whole Italian press resounded 
with the name of a man hitherto unknown, Alceste De Ambris. This 
brilliant strike-leader succeeded within a few weeks in obtaining for 
himself among the agricultural population of Emilia a position some- 
what similar to that which in the beginning of the seventeenth century 
Masaniello acquired among the lazzaroni of Naples. The popular leader- 
ship of De Ambris came, however, to a speedy end, owing to his con- 
demnation for political offences and his flight to America. 

" Alfonso de Pietri-Tonelli, II Sindaealismo come Proilema della 
Libertd operaia, "Pagine Libere," anno iii, No. 819, 

"" Of. supra, pp. 298-9, 306. 


ing joined the socialist party in Paris, speedily acquired fame 
and power among the workers by his defence of the doctrine of 
the general strike and the military strike. He soon gained so 
great a prestige as to require but a few years to climb to the 
position of premier of France." The starting-point of his 
triumphal march was the Nantes congress (1894), where he 
secured the acceptance of the idea of the general strike as 
part of the official programme of the French trade unions.^" 

Syndicalism is hostile to the "democratic" policy of the 
socialist party and the "authoritarian" syndicates, for the 
syndicalists hold that ' ' democracy ' ' affords a mere caricature of 
the fundamental principle of the labour movement, and they 
declare that from the democratic soil no fruit can spring but 
that of oligarchy. No other movement bases itself so ener- 
getically as does the syndicalist movement upon the right and 
ability of the masses for self-government. "Where, as in France, 
the leadership of the labour movement is in their hands, they 
lay great stress upon the fact that their authority is restricted 
to carrying into effect the resolutions passed at the sovereign 
assemblies of the comrades. They assure us that the Confedera- 
tion Generale du Travail, which sits in Paris, is not a directive 
organ, but a mere instrument for the coordination and the dif- 
fusion of the revolutionary activity of the working class. They 
describe this body as equally hostile to "centralization" and 
to ' ' authoritarianism. ' ' ^^ All impulse to action, we are as- 
sured, starts from the masses, and the syndicalist leaders are 
merely the exponents of this impulse. In strikes, the activity 
of the Comite Confederal is not directive in the strict sense of 
the term ; this body is a mere intermediary to ensure the solidar- 
ity of the workers, to secure an element of suractivite and of 
polarization^ Such is the theory. In practice, these same 
French syndicalists complain that in all decisive questions the 
masses wait until those above take the initiative, and that in 
default of such initiative the comrades remain with folded 


"Flax (Victor Merie), Aristide Briand, "Les Hommes du Jour," Paris, 
1908, No. 26. 

"Hubert Lagardelle, Les Origines du Syndicalisme en France, "Mouve- 
ment Soeialiste, ' ' anno xi, Nos. 215-16, pp. 245-6. 

=^Emile Pouget, La Confederation Generale du Travail, ed. cit., pp. 
7, 23, 24. 

"Emile Pouget, La Confederation Generale du Travail, ed. cit., p. 30. 

"After the sanguinary conflict at Draveil between the strikers and 


As in all groups characterized by an ostensibly democratic 
ideology, among the syndicalists the dominion of the leaders 
often assumes veiled forms. In France, the trade union leaders 
are forbidden to seek election as deputies, for they must be 
preserved from all impure contacts. They must remain in con- 
stant communication with the masses, and their activities must 
be carried on in the full light of day. It is none the less true 
that the necessities of their position often oblige them, in the 
interest of the trade unions, to enter into relationships with the 
organs of state, in such a way that their antiparliamentary atti- 
tude is apt to mean no more than that, instead of treating with 
the government in the open, from the summit of the parliamen- 
tary tribune, where their actions are, in part at least, visible to 
the rank and file, they negotiate mysteriously out of sight in ante- 
chambers and passages.^* 

The theory of the masses professed by the syndicalists has 
a reverse side to which it is well to pay attention. The trade- 
union organizations, taken as a whole, do not include in their 
membership more than a minority of the workers susceptible 
of organization : in Italy, 11 % ; in England, 23 % ; in Sweden 
(where the proportion is highest of all), 42.21 %. Among the 

the cuirassiers, the expected general strike did not take place. Eegarding 
this failure, Emile Pouget wrote as follows in the "Voix du Peuple" 
(June, 1908), the chief mouthpiece of the French labour organizations: 
" Malheureusement, il faut bien constater que, si, theoriquement, I'idee 
de la greve generale a pris corps en France, pratiquement, nous nous 
sommes laisses devancer ne serait ce que par la classe ouvriere d'ltalie. 
Le tort, le tort grave, est de trop regarder au centre et d'attendre de lui 
le mot d'ordre. Cette mentalite regrettable decele chez ceux qui s'y 
attardent, une superstition etatique qui, au point de vue revolutionnaire, 
est on ne pent plus dangereuse. Au lieu d'agir soi-meme on attend un 
indication d'en haut. . . . Et 1 'occasion propice s'echappe!" 

^ The Belgian socialist De Brouckere, writing against the syndicalists, 
says very truly: "Le systeme des Parloirs est assurement tres inferieur 
a eelui des Parlements" (Louis De Brouckere et C. Huysmans, L' Af- 
filiation des Syndicats au Parti Ouvrier. Discours, Brismee, Brussels, 
1907, p. 40). Moreover, in any case, syndicalism is utterly inconsistent 
in its attitude towards political democracy. On principle, the syndicalists 
regard labour-protection laws as either injurious to the proletariat or 
utterly unimportant, and they therefore refuse to raise a finger to secure 
the passage of such laws — except in the case of the eight-hours law, 
which is warmly advocated by some, though not by all syndicalists. But 
whenever labour-protection laws have been actually passed, they do all 
they can to maintain them and secure their enforcement. (Cf. A. Keufer, 
La Crise Syndicaliste, "Mouvement Socialiste, " anno xii, No. 220.) 


organized workers, it is once more only a minority which plays 
an active part in trade-union life.^^ The syndicalists at once 
lament this fact and rejoice at it, being inspired, in this respect, 
by sentiments which are by no means logically consistent. They 
rejoice to be rid of the dead weight of those who are still in- 
different or immature.26 No doubt this attitude is inspired by 
the old Blanquist idea, that masses too vast and intellectually 
heterogeneous paralyse all activity by their lack of mobility, 
and that only alert minorities are enterprising and bellicose. 
If they were logical, the syndicalists would draw the conclusion 
that the general movement of the modern proletariat must 
necessarily be the work of a minority of enlightened proletarians. 
But the democratic tendencies of our time prevent the formula- 
tion of such a conclusion, or at least prevent its frank avowal, 
for this would bring the syndicalists into open conflict with 
the very basis of democracy, and would force them to proclaim 
themselves, without circumlocution, partisans of an oligarchical 
system. The syndicalist oligarchy, it is true, would not consist 
(like that of the socialist party) in the dominion of the leaders 
over the masses, but in the dominion of a small fraction of the 
masses over the whole. There are a few theorists of syndicalism 
who already speak unreservedly of socialism as an evolution 
based upon the action of working-class elites.^'^ 

The oligarchical character of the syndicalist movement is dis- 
played most conspicuously in the demand (made for reasons 
which have nothing to do with democracy) for absolute obedi- 
ence to the orders of the organized elite. ' ' Les indifferents, par 
le seul fait qu'ils ont neglige de formuler leur volonte, n'ont 
qu 'a acquiescer aux decisions prises. ' ' ^^ Following the example 
of the reformist trade unions of Germany and England, those 
French unions that are inspired by the doctrine of revolutionary 
syndicalism hold fast to the principle that the organized workers 
have the right to issue orders to the unorganized. 

It may be admitted that the supreme directive organs of the 
French labour movement do not possess that plenitude of powers 
which the corresponding hierarchical grades of other countries 

^ Cf . supra, p. 47. 

=^Pouget, La Confederation GeneraJe du Travail, ed. cit., pp. 7 and 34. 

"Cf. the essays of Angelo Oliviero Olivetti and Alfredo PoUedro in 
"Pagine Libere," 1909-10; especially Polledro's article Dal Congresso 
di Bologna alia Palingenesi Sindacalista (anno iv, 1909, fasc. 14). 

^Emile Pouget, La Confederation Generale du Travail, ed. cit., p. 7. 


have at their disposal — above all in Germany, There are various 
reasons for this difference, such as the national character of the 
French, the weakness of the organizations, etc. But even in 
France there is a great difference between theory and practice. 
In the first place the leaders exercise a powerful influence upon 
the organized comrades through the newspapers, which, as every 
one knows, are not edited by the masses. In addition there 
exists a whole hierarchy of sub-chiefs. The number of trade 
unionists enrolled in the Confederation Generale du Travail is 
about 350,000, whilst the number of subscribers to the ' ' Voix du 
Peuple, ' ' the central organ of the Confederation, is no more than 
7,000. These subscribers are described as "les plus actifs mili- 
tants, membres des bureaux et des conseils syndicaux. . . . Par 
leur intermediaire se diffuse la pensee conf ederale. ' ' ^^ Here 
we have a frank confession that there exists a graduated in- 
tellectual subordination which conflicts with the syndicalist 
theory. Even the general strike was primarily conceived in 
France as a hierarchical procedure. A resolution voted at the 
Nantes congress (1894) specified that the general strike must 
be accurately prepared in advance by a central committee of 
eleven and by a large number of local sub-committees. These 
were to give the signal and to direct the movement. To-day the 
syndicalists reject this conception on account of its jacobin 
character ; ^° but in practice they are compelled to conform to 
the idea, notwithstanding the theoretical contradiction in which 
they are thus involved. In the works of some of the French 
syndicalist writers who have a strong tendency towards 
aestheticism, such as Edouard Berth, we find that the jacobin 
germs of the theory in question have undergone a full develop- 

The more syndicalism gathers power, the more conspicuous 

^Ibid., ed. cit, pp. 30 and 33. 

^^ Lagardelle, Les Origines du Syndicalisme, etc., p. 247. 

^Eead, for example, the following typical phrases, inspired by a 
genuine enthusiasm for the policy of the strong hand and by a profound 
admiration for the grandeur of the creative will: "La bourgeoisie a 
tou jours vu dans I'interet de sa elasse, I'interet national lui-meme; elle 
a toujours identifie sa riehesse propre avec la richesse nationale, et avec 
raison, en definitif: toute volonte forte et ereatrice s'erige naturellement 
en volonte generale, et confond audacieusement, mais legitimement, son 
inter et avec I'interet general" (Edouard Berth, Bevue critique: un 
Marx inedit!, "Mouvement Socialiste, " anno vi, series ii. No. 142, p, 
100, November 1, 1904). 


among the syndicalists become the effects which are everywhere 
characteristic of the representative system. From the ranks 
of the French syndicalists, leaders have already sprung whose 
sensitiveness towards the criticisms of their followers can be 
equalled only by that of an English trade-union leader.^^ Youth- 
ful syndicalism, although born out of opposition to the au- 
thoritarianism of the leaders, is thus quite unable to escape the 
oligarchical tendencies which arise in every organization. For 
the syndicalist leaders, as for others, the preservation of their 
own power becomes the supreme law. So far has the process 
already gone in France, that they have abandoned the old tactics 
of taking advantage of the prosecutions instituted against them 
by the government to make propagandist speeches in court and 
to employ the language of heroes and prophets. Instead, on 
these occasions, they act with extreme prudence and display 
diplomatic reserve.^^ Sorel himself speaks of the "degeneres- 
cence progressive du syndicalisme. ' ' And he has declared : "La 

'^ One of the best known of the French syndicalist leaders, Victor 
Griffuelhes, at that time general secretary of the Confederation Generale 
du Travail, in an interview published in " L 'Humanite, " described 
bluntly as "hraillards" hia own opponents, and especially those whose 
views were voiced in the "Guerre Sociale," although they belonged 
to his own section of the trade-union movement. He used still more dis- 
dainful terms of his opponents, declaring that their conduct was the 
outcome of mere "demagogy." "II en est qui se plaisent a parler de 
Topportunisme croissant de la C.G.T. Peu m'importe! J'ai suflfisamment 
du courage pour braver meme cette demagogie-la. " Here we have the 
very language of every holder of power when his adversaries appeal to 
Demos, for he regards such an appeal as extremely inconvenient. 

^During the war in Morocco the antimilitarist propaganda of the 
Confederation Generale du Travail was answered by the then premier, 
Georges Clemenceau, by the institution of a number of prosecutions 
against various noted syndicalist leaders. In the winter of 1907-8, when 
Griffuelhes, among others, was prosecuted for antimilitarist views, he 
changed his tactics. He gave as a reason for this change the necessity 
that he should retain the leadership in his own hands, and that by se- 
curing the possibility of an acquittal he should be able to attend the 
trade-union congress to be held at Marseilles in the autumn and there 
make headway against the reformist tendency. Consequently, in the 
proceedings in court the defence was conducted with all that ingenuity 
which is calculated to make a good impression on the judge, but which 
had hitherto been rigorously eschewed. It was asserted, for example, that 
the attacks upon the army had been guided by sentiments similar to those 
of the old soldier who declared that in taking part in the war his regi- 
ment had been sent not so much to a battle as to a massacre. (Cf. 
article in the "Guerre Sociale," 1908, ii, Nos. 11 and 12.) 


Confederation Generale du Travail prend de plus en plus 1 'aspect 
d'un gouvemement ouvrier." ^* 

^*Jeaii 'Bourdeau, Entre deux Servitudes, Alean, Paris, 1910, p. 94. — 
A typical manifestation of the small respect the syndicalist leaders dis- 
play for the masses, and of the absolute freedom of action they claim 
whenever their special views do not accord with those of their troops, 
is afforded by the attitude assumed by Arturo Labriola during the 
Tripolitan War. In a letter to " L 'Internazionale " of Parma (anno v, 
No. 27), Labriola affirms that the manner in which the syndicalist in- 
tellectuals pursue their ideals concerns themselves alone. He says fur- 
ther: "Working-class syndicalists, confined within their unions, must 
understand once for all the position of syndicalists who are not manual 
workers, from whom it would be inhuman to demand sacrifices not de- 
manded from others. We cannot fail to have opinions upon questions 
of civilization, national interests, the moral or religious currents of our 
time. Naturally these opinions are not and cannot be (and perhaps it 
is better that they should not be) in conformity with the ideas of an 
organized manual worker, to whom class questions seem not merely essential, 
but determinative of his attitude to all others." With these assertions 
Labriola in effect declares that the leaders are independent of the masses, 
and discloses a jemenfichisme which conflicts with all the duties of political 
consistency and of obedience to democratic principles. Moreover, this open 
confession displays the youth (or the senility) of the syndicalist move- 
ment. The leader of an ordinary political party might think these things, 
but he would keep his thoughts to himself. 



Anarchists were the first to insist upon the hierarchical and 
oligarchical consequences of party organization. Their view 
of the defects of organization is much clearer than that of social- 
ists and even than that of syndicalists. They resist authority 
as the source of servility and slavery, if not the source of all 
the ills of the world. For them constraint is ' ' synonymous with 
prison and police. ' ' ^ They know how readily the individualism 
of the leaders checks and paralyses the socialism of the led. In 
order to elude this danger, anarchists, notwithstanding the prac- 
tical inconveniences entailed, have refrained from constituting 
a party, at least in the strict sense of the term. Their adherents 
are not organized under any stable form. They are not united 
by any discipline. They know nothing of obligations or duties, 
such as elections, pecuniary contributions, participation in 
regular meetings, and so on. 

It is a necessary consequence of these peculiarities that the 
typical anarchist leader differs considerably from the typical 
socialist leader, the characteristic product of the last twenty- 
five years. Anarchism has no party organization which can 
offer lucrative positions, nor does the anarchist pathway lead to 
parliamentary honours. Consequently there are fewer oppor- 
tunities for contagion, fewer temptations, and much less field for 
personal ambition. Thus it may be expected, as a logical conse- 
quence of the theory that environment makes character, that 
in the average anarchist leader idealism should be more con- 
spicuous than in the average socialist leader. The anarchist 
lives remote from the practice of politics, with all its passions, 
all its appetites, and all its allurements ; consequently he is more 
objective in his judgment of persons and of things, more con- 
templative, more self-enclosed— but also more of a dreamer, 
more remote from reality. Among anarchist leaders we find 

^Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis, Ber staatssozialistische Charakter der 
SosialdemoTcratie, "Archiv fiir Sozialw.," xxviii, fase. i, p. 144. 



many learned, cultivated, and modest men who have not lost 
the sentiment of true friendship, and to whom it is a pleasure 
to cultivate and nourish that sentiment: sincere and high- 
minded men, such as Peter Kropotkin, Elisee Eeclus, Christian 
Cornelissen, Enrico Malatesta, and many others less famous.^ 
But though the anarchist leaders are as a rule morally superior 
to the leaders of the organized parties working in the political 
field, we find in them some of the qualities and pretensions char- 
acteristic of all leadership. This is proved by a psychological 
analysis of the characteristics of the individual anarchist leader. 
The theoretical struggle against all authority, against all coer- 
cion, to which many of the most eminent anarchists have sac- 
rificed a large portion of their lives, has not stifled in them the 
natural- love of power. All that we can say is that the means 
of dominion employed by the anarchist leader belong to an 
epoch which political parties have already outlived. These 
are the means utilized by the apostle and the orator : the flaming 
power of thought, greatness of self-sacrifice, profundity of con- 
viction.^ Their dominion is exercised, not over the organiza- 
tion, but over minds; it is the outcome, not of technical in- 
dispensability, but of intellectual ascendancy and moral su- 

Whilst anarchists repudiate the formation of political parties, 
they adhere none the less to the principle of organization in 
the economic field.* Some of them, even, explicitly recognize 
the need for the technical guidance of the masses ; ^ whilst others 

*We find some admirably drawn character-sketclies of anarchist leaders 
in the work of Peter Kropotkin, Memoirs of a Bevolutionist, Smith, Elder, 
London, 1899, vol. ii, p. 196. See also the psychological portrait of an 
unnamed anarchist in De Amicis, Lotte eivili, Nerbini, Florence, 1904, pp. 
128 et seq. 

*In some, naturally, we encounter sounding phrases with very little 
content. "Un besoin de s'epancher, de eonvaincre, tombe souvent a 
discutailler ou s'ecoule en declamations a I'honneur de societes futures. 
'AiUeurs c'est pire: une science rudimentaire s'ebat dans des discours — 
preches ou ronronnent les mots d'harmonie, d 'amour, et de machinisme" 
(Zo d'Axa, A Paterson, "ha. Eevue Blanche," Paris, 1902, No. 222, p. 
10). — Eegarding the wealth of empty phrases characteristic of the less 
serious and less able among the anarchists, consult the critical work of 
a convinced Italian anarchist, Domenico Zavattero, GK Anarehici nel Movi- 
mento sociale in Italia, Iniziativa Edit., Eavenna 1906, pp. 30, 84 et seq. 

* Cf . Christian Cornelissen, Op Weg naar een nieuwe Maatschappij, Begin- 
selen en TaktieTc van den Klassentrijd, Becht, Amsterdam, 1902, p. 242. 

'S. Merlino, Pro e contra il Socialismo, Treves, Milan, 1897, p. 268. 


declare their conviction that it would sufSce to restrict the 
functions of the leaders to purely administrative work, to elimi- 
nate, once for all, the differences, so dangerous to the organiza- 
tion, which arise between the leaders and the led.« As if the 
technical and administrative superiority of the leaders were not 
alone sufficient to establish their supremacy over the masses 
in all other respects! Not even Bakunin proposed to exclude 
the principles of organization and discipline, but he desired that 
they should be voluntary instead of automatic.^ He conceived 
the anarchist regime as a federation of perpetual barricades, 
and proposed to institute a council of the revolutionary com- 
mune, consisting of delegates, one or two in number from each 
barricade, or from each street or quarter, these delegates hav- 
ing an imperative mandate. The communal council thus com- 
posed would nominate from among its own members special 
executive committees for all the branches of the revolutionary 
administration of the commune. The capital, having effected a 
successful insurrection and constituted itself as a commune, 
would then declare to the other municipalities of the country 
that it put forward no claim to exercise any supremacy over 
them. But it would invite them to provide themselves also 
with a revolutionary organization, and to send delegates to a 
meeting-place to be determined by agreement, in order to estab- 
lish a federation of insurgent associations, communes, and 
provinces, and thus to create a revolutionary power sufficiently 
strong to oppose any possible reaction. As Marx justly pointed 
out, these executive committees, if they were to do anything at 
all, must be furnished with powers, and must be sustained by 
public force. The federal parliament would have no reason for 
existence unless it were to organize this public force. Besides, 
this parliament could, just like the communal council, delegate 
its executive power to one or more committees, and each of these 
would in fact be invested with an authoritative character which 
the needs of the struggle would not fail continually to accentu- 
ate. In a word, according to Marx, the whole Bakuninian 
scheme would be characterized by an ultra-authoritative stamp.® 

^Luigi Fabbri, Sindicalismo y Anarquismo, Tradueeion de Jose Prat, 
F. Sempre, Valencia, 1907, p. Ifi9. 

^Bakiinin, CEuvres, ed, eit., vol. ii, p. 297. 

'Karl Marx, L' Alliance de la Democratie socialiste et I 'Association 
internationale des Travailleurs, ed. cit., p. 14. — Eegarding the autocratic 
tendencies of Bakunin see pp. 3, 9, 10-11, 18, 24-5. 


Like the syndicalists, the anarchists have extolled ''direct 
action," which, they consider, possesses the value of an ethical 
principle. Direct action, ''in contradistinction to the tactics 
of negotiation, of mutual compromise, of hierarchical organiza- 
tion, and of the representative system, tends to secure a higher 
standard of life for the workers, and the emancipation of the 
proletariat from capitalism and political centralization — to se- 
cure these advantages by the immediate self-help of the 
workers. ' '® 

Notwithstanding this, anarchism, a movement on behalf of 
liberty, founded on the inalienable right of the human being 
over his own person, succumbs, no less than the socialist party, 
to the law of authoritarianism as soon as it abandons the region 
of pure thought and as soon as its adherents unite to form 
associations aiming at any sort of political activity.^" Nieuwen- 
huis, the veteran champion of anarchizing socialism with a 
frankly individualist tendency, showed on one occasion that 
he had a keen perception of the dangers which anarchism runs 
from all contact with practical life. At the Amsterdam con- 
gress of 1907, after the foundation of the new anarchist inter- 
national, he raised a warning voice against the arguments of the 
Italian Enrico Malatesta, an anarchist attached to the school 
of Bakunin. Malatesta, having dilated upon the strength of 
bourgeois society, declared that nothing would suit this society 
better than to be faced by unorganized masses of workers, and 
that for this reason it was essential to counter the powerful or- 
ganization of the rich by a still more powerful organization of 
the poor. "Si tel est ta pensee, cher ami," said Nieuwenhuis 
to Malatesta, "tu peux t'en aller tranquillement chez les so- 
cialistes. lis ne disent pas autre chose." In the course of this 
first anarchist congress there were manifest, according to Nieu- 

' Erich Miihsam, Die direMe ATction im Befreiungskampfe der Arbeiter- 
schaft, " Generalstreik, -' ' monthly supplement of "Der Freie Arbeiter," 
anno i, October 1905. 

"A striking instance of the way in which an anarchi